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Council on Aging Financial Services

 

Council on Aging has been providing financial services to older adults in Sonoma County for over 50 years and our commitment to excellence, integrity, and client service over the years is unwavering. Our Financial Services Team is made up of our Director, Professional Licensed Fiduciaries, Financial Case Managers, Record Manager, and Accounts Coordinator. Our team works closely together to ensure your estate plan is implemented correctly and your final wishes are carried out as you had intended.

Our Services

Fiduciary Services 

A fiduciary is a person or agency, like COA, who holds a legal relationship of trust with another person(s). A fiduciary is responsible for prudently taking care of money or other assets and is charged with acting at all times for the sole benefit and interest of the person(s) who has hired the fiduciary. A fiduciary provides aid, advice, and protection over these assets when an individual is no longer able to do so for themselves.

The state of California requires professional fiduciaries to be licensed, bonded, and insured. They are also required to pass an examination after completing 30 hours of approved educational courses and 15 hours of continuing education each year for license renewal.

 

Our professional fiduciaries provide critical services to Sonoma County seniors including basic bill paying, investment management oversight, and filing tax returns. We also manage personal matters for clients including daily care, housing, and medical needs.

  • Successor Trustee 

One way in which we act as a fiduciary is through the role of the Successor Trustee. A

trustee is legally appointed by a trust document and is the person who administers any assets

that were placed in the name of the trust. The successor trustee typically steps in after the

grantor (the person creating the trust) becomes incapacitated or dies.

 

If an individual becomes incapacitated and has named COA as their successor trustee, our

fiduciaries will then become responsible for overseeing the trust assets and ensuring they are

being used to support our client’s needs and wishes even though they are no longer able to make

these decisions themselves.

  • Estate Settlement 

The most common way we act as fiduciary is through Estate Settlement. In this case,

we have been named as the successor trustee and the grantor has died. It is then our role to

complete the estate administration by valuing and appraising all assets on the date of death and

establishing cost basis, pay debts and sell property as appropriate, prepare and file fiduciary tax

returns, and ultimately distribute the assets to the remainder beneficiaries.

  • Special Needs Trust Trustee 

Council on Aging can also be named as the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust (SNT). A

SNT is most commonly created by a parent or guardian for the benefit of disabled children or

dependent adults. These individuals are living but unable to manage their own assets and affairs

and are likely receiving government assistance which they would be disqualified from by the

inheritance of significant assets. Special Needs Trust administration requires a higher level of

expertise and oversight and we are proud to offer this service to our clients.

  • Durable Power of Attorney 

The DPOA is an important document in your Estate Planning process but deciding whom to name

as your agent may be a challenging decision. The DPOA allows your agent to act on your behalf for all financial decisions, once you’ve become incapacitated. It allows the agent to engage in legal contracts, such as hiring a caregiving agency. The agent is also responsible for filing your income tax returns, among other financial obligations.

Council on Aging is available to act in the role of DPOA for our clients. We apply our fiduciary

responsibility to ensure decisions are made based on your wishes and in your best interest.

  • Advanced Health Care Directive

The AHCD is another important document in your Estate Planning process and deciding whom to

name as your agent may be even more important of a decision than that of whom to name for your DPOA. The AHCD allows your agent to act on your behalf for all health care and medical decisions, once you’ve become incapacitated. The directive typically allows you to list your wishes in the document and then it is the legal responsibility of your agent to carry out your wishes.

Council on Aging is available to act in the role of AHCD for our clients. We apply our fiduciary

responsibility to ensure decisions are made based on your wishes and in your best interest. We will

consult with family members or loved ones as well if requested.

  • Conservator 

A Conservatorship is a protector appointed by the courts to manage the financial affairs

(conservator of the estate) or daily life (conservator of the person) of an individual due to cognitive

impairments.

● As the Conservator of the Estate, COA assumes legal responsibilities over the financial

affairs of that individual. We are responsible for locating and taking control of assets,

managing and protecting those assets, paying bills, and providing regular accounting of

those assets to the court.

● As the Conservator of the Person, COA assumes legal responsibilities over the personal

affairs of that individual. We are responsible for supporting their basic needs including

food, clothing, shelter, and making medical decisions.

Even with the best of intentions, sometimes our loved ones fail to put an effective estate plan in

place. Once they lose capacity, it is too late to draft estate planning documents. The option of petitioning the court to appoint an individual or agency, like COA is sometimes the only option. If you have a loved one who has lost capacity and needs help managing their affairs, COA may be able to help.

Our Fees

Financial Services are fee-based programs and fees vary depending on the services you are receiving.


To learn more about how the Financial Services team can support you and your loved ones, contact our Financial Services Director, Mia Bennett, (707) 525-0143 x108; mbennett@councilonaging.com


We look forward to working with you!

Council On Aging
30 Kawana Springs Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-525-0143
info@councilonaging.com
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