An Experienced Fiduciary.
Families often decide not to use family members to manage estate assets. Choosing an independent, neutral trustee to handle estate matters avoids creating potential disputes over money and preserves estate assets thereby insuring family cohesiveness.
Tim Hyden is an experienced fiduciary. He truly listens to you and helps you define your family’s needs and goals. He will create a custom fiduciary plan which will allow you to reach these goals.
What is a Fiduciary?
A Fiduciary is a person who assumes responsibility for a position of trust.
In what specific roles do Fiduciaries serve?
Fiducaries serve by court appointment as guardians, conservators, and personal representatives of estates. They also serve by agreement as trustees, representative payees, or as agents under powers of attorney.
1. The Fiduciary as trustee has the responsibility of carrying out the terms of the trust as set forth in a trust document. A trust can be created by the language found in a will or a document created during life. If the former, it is a testamentary trust; if the latter it is a living trust. The trustee is usually a person named by the creator of the trust in the trust document. In some cases, the trustee cannot carry out his or her duties either because of incapacity or death. If there is no named successor trustee who can serve the court has the responsibility of appointing a trustee, usually someone who is nominated by the trust beneficiary(ies.)
Trustee duties can include funding the trust with appropriate assets, safeguarding assets, investing the trust assets according to the Prudent
investor Rule (as set forth in the Probate Code), reporting to beneficiaries (as set forth in Probate code) filing income and estate tax returns for the trust and making distributions in accordance with the trust terms.
2. The Fiduciary as Conservator is the person who is legally appointed to manage the Conservatee’s estate and/or person. A Conservatorship is a legal tool to provide management for the financial and/or personal affairs of the individuals deemed by the court to be physically or mentally incapacitated. A Conservatee is a person who is the subject of a conservatorship. A Conservator of the Person is appointed by the court to assume responsibility for decisions regarding the health and welfare of a person. A person is determined by the court to be incapacitated when he or she lacks sufficient understanding or “capacity” to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his or her daily living needs. A Conservator of the Estate is responsible for the prudent use and protection of the conservatee’s assets. The conservator is responsible for inventorying, marshalling and managing all assets and benefits belonging to the Conservatee. The conservator receives income, pays obligations of the estate, applies for pensions, and organizes data for the preparation of income tax returns and other related duties.
3. The fiduciary as personal representative is an individual appointed by the probate court to administer the estate of a person who has died, referred to as a “decedent”. A personal representative will either act as an Executor if named in the will, or as an Administrator if not named in the will, or if there is no will. The personal representative inventories and safeguards assets, collects income, verifies and pays obligations, identifies and notifies heirs and beneficiaries, and distributes assets.
4. The fiduciary as representative payee is a person designated by the Social Security Administration or other retirement plans to receive the income and pay the expenses of an incapacitated individual.
5. The fiduciary as Agent Under Power of Attorney. The responsibilities of a fiduciary acting as an Agent under Power of Attorney include the following: For health care, the fiduciary acts as attorney-in-fact to make health care decisions, including placement, medical treatment, and final burial arrangements. More recently an Advance Health Care Directive provides this guidance. For financial matters, the fiduciary conducts personal and financial business pursuant to the client’s written instructions.
How is a conservator appointed?
Anyone who believes a person may need help with daily living activities and/or finances can initiate the process to appoint a fiduciary as a conservator. The concerned person may contact a fiduciary of choice to investigate the situation. If the fiduciary identifies sufficient need, he or she will retain an attorney to petition the probate court for appointment as conservator.
How is a conservatee protected?
The probate court often appoints an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person. A court investigator is also appointed by the court to determine the need for a conservator and to recommend a suitable person to serve in that role. All issues and information are brought before a probate court judge who decides if the person is incapacitated or in need of protection and, accordingly, appoints a conservator. The appointed fiduciary is accountable to the court for his or her work. The fiduciary must report to the court and receive the court’s approval in carrying out his or her responsibilities. The court requires the posting of a surety bond by the conservator, which is intended to protect the assets of the conservatee’s estate.
Who Oversees Fiduciaries?
Private Fiduciaries are governed by state statute. Each California county has a Probate Court as part of its Superior Court system. Courts may appoint a PFAC member as a neutral third party to protect vulnerable and incapacitated people from abuse, neglect and exploitation. PFAC members must abide by the PFAC Code of Ethics.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been licensed since 1986 and have been working with wealth in families since that time.
Why would I choose a private fiduciary instead of an institutional bank fiduciary?
The short answer: better, more personalized service. I will develop a relationship with the trust beneficiaries and family members and maintain close contact and communication with them. This usually creates a conflict free environment.
Do you charge more than the bank trust departments?
No. My fees are usually less than the fees charged by bank trust departments.
How long has your office been in San Ramon?
I have been in the same suite of offices here in the Tri-Valley San Ramon area since 1991.
How does the fact that you are both an attorney and a fiduciary help me?
My experience as an attorney in probate court and in the estate planning arena allows me to identify potential problems and address them before they occur. Additionally, my legal background allows me to easily and seamlessly interface with the other estate planning professionals who are often involved in trust administration including CPAs, trust attorneys and investment advisors.
About Tim Hyden
Tim Hyden received his law degree in 1986 from the University of the Pacific and is a practicing attorney license by the State Bar of California. He received his BA degree in Economics from the University of California, Davis.
Mr. Hyden has existing long-term relationships with institutional money managers, investment advisors, and custodians. This allows him to negotiate the best possible money management fees for his clients. Mr. Hyden has extensive probate and probate litigation experience which enables him to work effectively with a client’s attorney.
Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC)
State Bar of California, Member No. 124733
Contra Costa County Bar Association
Board Member of Estate Planning Council of Diablo Valley
Faculty at John F. Kennedy School of Law, Pleasant Hill, CA
Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council
"Requiring family members to act as your trustee risks the cohesiveness of the family and creates fertile ground from which conflict may grow."
Preserve assets with an experienced and dedicated professional
Create a plan
In many cases several professionals may be involved in managing the financial and personal affairs of a client. Tim Hyden will work closely with the client’s attorney, certified public accountant, estate planning professional, and investment advisors to create a custom fiduciary plan that best suits the clients needs and goals.
Links of Interest :
Fees & Insurance
What to expect
In non-court supervised cases, fees may be addressed in the estate planning documents. In most court-supervised cases, the California Probate Code approves reasonable fees. On average, fees are 1 percent (annual) of the value of the managed estate assets.
"A neutral trustee is just that – neutral. This allows family members to stay close and eliminates potential friction which may result from choosing a family member as trustee."