010: Thinking Outside the Family – Special Needs Trusts & Professional Fiduciaries

In this episode of Absolute Trust Talk, Kirsten welcomes Herb Thomas, founder and principal fiduciary of Herb Thomas and Associates. Herb has a big passion for people, which is shown through his extensive experience serving families throughout California with special needs trusts, public benefits counseling and advocacy, trust/estate administration, and conservatorships. He is also a board member of the Behavioral Intervention Association, which is a nonprofit dedicated to providing intervention services to children diagnosed with autism and their families.

During his conversation with Kirsten, Herb touches on what a professional fiduciary is and what makes the job right for someone who has “experienced a little bit of life.” He addresses why it’s essential for a family to look outside immediate members to a resource such as a professional fiduciary. He also provides actionable guidelines and tips for planning around the proper execution of a Special Needs Trust -everything from organization to the rest of the team involved.

Herb later weighs in on the biggest responsibilities expected of a special needs trustee and how to get started with a licensed professional fiduciary.

Big Three From Episode #010:

  1. Choose a trustee wisely – they are the main ingredient of a successful trust.
  2. Have a financial plan set up before you start.
  3. Choose the rest of the team wisely.

Time-stamped Show Notes

2:25 – What does it mean to be a licensed professional fiduciary?

4:22 – A professional fiduciary can serve in these various roles.

9:30 – What challenges are faced when administering a special needs trust?

12:41 – Here is why special needs trusts are important – the benefits, and why it’s needed.

15:08 – Here is why you should consider using a professional fiduciary.

24:50 – What is the process to hire a professional fiduciary? How do we find you?

25:47 – Herb discusses who he works with on the trust administration, other than just the beneficiary.

29:40 – Herb highlights the most significant responsibilities of a Special Needs Trustee – consider this when you are deciding whom to choose for your trustee.

Episode #010 Freebie: Special Needs Trust Tools? “Trustee Can Purchase” + What to Ask When Hiring a Professional Fiduciary

Assets are important to everyone, whether you have the resources or not. In the case of a special needs trust, the job of a licensed professional fiduciary or trustee is to help protect those assets for as long as possible and to use them solely for the benefit of the beneficiary. It’s vital, going into this process, to have goals to help you achieve what needs to be done for the recipient. To accompany this episode of Absolute Trust Talk, guest Herb Thomas put together a couple of tools to help you get started. “Trustee Can Purchase” is a guide to help the trustee understand what can be purchased for the benefit of the beneficiary. In addition, Herb provided a list of interview questions to ask when you are hiring a professional fiduciary. Above all else, you want to make sure the beneficiary is taken care of adequately and that their needs are met for the rest of their life.

Download Trustee Can Purchase Here!

Download What to Ask When Hiring a Professional Fiduciary Here!

Resources/Tools/Links Mentioned In This Episode:

PFAC – https://pfac-pro.org

Professional Fiduciary Bureau of California – http://fiduciary.ca.gov


Check out this episode!

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A person with special needs has their own unique needs, and their estate plan should reflect that, but it can come with its fair share of challenges that must be carefully thought out. By visiting https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/special-needs-tools/, you’ll find various tools, tips, and information to help protect and support the person with special needs for years to come.

Navigate the Administration of a Family Member’s Trust with Ease

The job of a trustee isn’t as easy as one may think. You must give legal notices, retitle assets, file tax returns, understand a legal document, and perform a variety of tasks most people find unfamiliar. As a trustee, if you forget a step or make a mistake, you could be held liable.

Protect yourself, have a plan, and find out the next steps about your specific trust. Get started now by scheduling a 20-minute discovery call with Absolute Trust Counsel. During this introductory call, we will gather information about your trust administration, review our trust administration process with you, and answer any questions you may have. Our goal is to help you get the job done right!