FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Hiring a professional to assist with your own or a loved one’s care or finances can be a daunting task. Whether your family is facing a sudden crisis or you are trying to plan ahead for an uncertain future, Debra J. Dolch Fiduciary Services can assist to clarify your concerns, develop a plan and move forward with you. We are always happy to answer any questions that you might have about financial or personal care management services so that you can feel confident in your decisions.
Click a tab below to reveal the Frequently Asked Questions pertaining that particular service. Then, click any question therein to reveal the respective answer.
Could you tell me more about personal care management services?
Personal care management is assistance and oversight of care for a person who may need help to function at their highest level of independence. The process involves:
- an assessment to understand the person’s functional and cognitive abilities
- development of a plan of care to maximize function, quality of care and quality of life
- on-going monitoring to ensure that services are effective and that new services are implemented as needed.
Do you only serve the elderly?
We provide services to the elderly, people with developmental disabilities, and to people with mental health challenges. We are happy to provide services to anyone who would like help in managing their care and well-being.
If I engage you to provide personal care management, how often will you visit?
Each person is unique. We will work with you to set up a plan that maximizes independence and provides adequate oversight. During a crisis, the plan may take more time to implement. Once a situation is stabilized, visits can be decreased, if appropriate.
Do you coordinate with my medical team?
With your permission, we work very closely with the medical team and all involved parties to provide a seamless web of care.
Do services have to be provided in a specific setting?
We will provide services in any setting, including private residences, assisted living facilities, group homes, hospitals or skilled nursing facilities.
How much does personal care management cost? What services are charged for?
Care management is billed at an hourly rate. We charge for all services, including telephone coordination, set up of resources, home visiting and travel time. We forward an itemized bill quarterly.
Can you go with my loved one to the doctor?
Yes, we are available to accompany our clients to medical appointments. We can also visit our clients in the hospital if needed.
Why should I call your agency instead of a home care agency?
We are not a home care agency, and we do not directly employ in-home caregivers. Hiring excellent caregivers is part of the larger plan that we coordinate. We work with many different home care agencies throughout the Bay Area, and we can assist you to find the provider that is right for you. We can screen potential caregivers and ensure that they are oriented to the particular care needs of the individual. As a care manger, we will visit the residence, often unannounced, to ensure that high quality care is being provided to your loved one.
I know my dad needs help, but how do I get him to accept it?
It is not easy for most people to accept that they need help. We have years of experience working with individuals who initially resist offers of assistance, only to find that health and quality of life are improved when the right services are in place. We will find interventions that are appropriate for your loved one, using effective techniques to overcome the resistance to and fear of change that is so common when facing medical or aging challenges. That being said, if someone is competent to make their own decisions and adamantly refuses our services, we cannot force our way into their life.
My son was in an accident. He now has a Special Needs Trust. He says that he wants to give his mother and me a gift using the money in the Trust. Can he do this?
Special Needs Trusts are set up for the sole benefit of an individual to preserve that individual’s public benefits that would be lost if the money were taken into account. There is legislation on how the money can be used.
My uncle is conserved. He complained to me that he does not want to pay for care givers. He did not ask for them and he thinks he can manage without them. What should I tell him?
A person who is conserved can not make financial decisions unless the court has specifically directed otherwise. Your uncle may not fully appreciate his need to spend money on care, even if the care is clearly necessary. He should discuss this with his Conservator and his attorney.
I have seen a wonderful opportunity for investing my grandmother’s money. A friend told me about this chance in a lifetime to invest in a mining corporation in another country. The company has not yet been formed, but I was told the returns are guaranteed. My grandmother’s Conservator does not want to proceed. What can I do?
A Conservator has a duty to invest money wisely and with the least risk possible. The Conservator has to report regularly to the court detailing all income and expenditure. A scheme such as this has too many risks for the court to approve. The Conservator is acting correctly not proceeding.
Can someone who is conserved operate her or his own bank account?
Each case is individual. Generally speaking, a conserved person can not operate his or her own bank account or make any financial transactions. However, in some circumstances the court will allow a conserved person to have a bank account with limits placed on the account.
My aunt is conserved. We are very close. She recently gave me a gift as a token of her affection for me. Can I keep the gift?
If a gift is given, the Conservator should be notified immediately. The Conservator will decide what should be done, distinguishing between a token birthday gift and a substantial gift of assets. Sometimes an application will need to be made to the court in connection with a gift; sometimes a Conservatee has control over a small allowance and an occasional token gift for a birthday or other celebration would not pose a problem. However, the Conservatee does not have the right to make gifts of other assets.
My mother, who was widowed, died without leaving a Will. My sister was estranged from the family for years and has made no attempt to keep in touch. We do not know if she is married or even if she is still alive. Can the estate be distributed without reference to her?
An attorney must be consulted if a beneficiary is missing to decide on the best course of action. An estate can not finally be distributed without a decision being taken by the court on a missing beneficiary.
My uncle left his money to me for my life then to my remaining cousins on my death. I receive a reasonable income each month. I want to take a year long trip around the world and asked the Trustee to fund it from my uncle’s trust. The Trustee said that the trip would use up half of the trust funds and was not prepared to finance it. All my cousins are well to do and do not need this money. What can I do?
A Trustee has a duty to carry out the terms of the Trust and to consider all beneficiaries. The Trustee has to balance the interest of the person who has the use of the money for her or his lifetime and the interest of the person(s) receiving the remainder of the money. The use of a significant amount of money on one interest would not be fair on the other interest and so the Trustee acted correctly.
What do conservatorship of the estate fees cover?
The Conservator charges for time spent in dealing with the many aspects of a Conservatee’s financial affairs. The Conservator has to stand in the place of the Conservatee. This will include collecting and depositing income, applying for benefits, reviewing invoices and paying bills, opening or closing banking, brokerage and other accounts, reconciling statements and reviewing financial information. It also includes preparing and filing tax returns and ensuring that all payments are current. The Conservator is also responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the Conservatee’s property including arranging with contractors for work to be done at the Conservatee’s home, inspecting and approving the work and ensuring timely payment. The Conservator also liaises with family members on financial matters.