The deacon at our church keeps telling me that fiduciary work is a wonderful ministry. There may be something to that.
I stumbled upon a training opportunity over a year ago that examined some of the challenges of life for elderly and disabled folks who happen to be found under the umbrella of LGBT.
When presented with the possibility of a new client, a fiduciary should/must ask of themselves, can I effectively advocate for this person?
I walked away from that training thinking, not yet.
Fortunately, there have been more opportunities to learn and I have made the commitment that I can approach a LGBT Client opportunity focusing on the person, not the person's sexual orientation. I am hoping to become one very small part of a core of committed professionals in Sonoma County that can work together to serve these folks with tremendous professionalism.
Recently, I was offered the opportunity to jump into a conservatorship for a gay client whose geography and finances suggest that a poor business decision was made.
Leap of faith? I jump tomorrow!
I am fond of calling myself an advocate. When I speak for a client, their voice is heard.
There are people in this community that speak for others in their own voice, part of a plan of isolation and manipulation.
One of my disabled clients has been under my umbrella for more than a year and a half. At this juncture I have to honestly admit that I know him not at all.
The family members and paid caregiver that share living space with this client contribute to an atmosphere of high emotion and confrontation.
My ability to assist is hampered by the amount of funds available, the genuine risk of loss of public benefits if money is improperly expended, actions of previous trustees that established perceived precedents and the lack of cooperation from the client/circle to establish meaningful distribution goals.
When the client calls, I can hear an "advocate" in the background, coaching each word.
My responsibilities are clear, my desire to provide assistance is genuine. My concern for the well being of this person is well-founded.
Is that enough?
In trying to maintain balance in my life, I give of my time to a local non-profit organization that provides housing for senior citizens. My reward is that I gain experience that helps me in my fiduciary role. In turn, my fiduciary expertise adds to our management conversation.
Recently, a local health professional (in the spirit of advocacy) has taken up the cause for some of our clients that have some complaints about the way our organization is run. As a member of the board it is easy to take offense at an outsider confronting us with accusations and some board members have struggled with this situation.
I am pleased to report that others have responded differently and a new determination to make improvements has emerged. Let us be reminded that a knife is sharpened by contact with a stone. Toss a few rocks in our direction and watch us work, as would skilled surgeons, to bring healing to our community.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the open house for a new Bed and Board Home here in Cloverdale. They have done wonderful job creating a warm, homey and safe living facility.
The young lady whose family owns the facility explained to me that her grandmother resides in a similar facility in the Sacramento Area. Although clean and safe, she feels a lack of warmth and consistent commitment to client care. Hence the business venture that she hope will provide a warm family-like environment for grandma and 5 others.
Many people I've met who have chosen a career in senior services have a similar story. Someone they love was somehow slighted or even endangered by people entrusted to care for them.
My Grandma Myra spent the last 9 years of her life in a skilled nursing facility that was at times quite good but went through periods when the care was not good, when they chose to medicate her rather than truly deal with her.
If nothing else, we owe our loved ones our commitment to always act in the role of advocate. To speak up every time a situation or action falls short of how we would act ourselves.
In the role of trustee or power of attorney, the standard does not change. In fact it is higher, we are expected to bring together the resources and expertise to ensure that our clients live with the highest possible level of freedom, safety and dignity.
Would you want any less fo
Don the Trustee
When my mother passed very suddenly some 16 years ago, I worked as a trustee for the first time. Her trust contained walnut orchards, peach orchards and a small vineyard. One of the properties was within the sphere of influence of the adjacent city and I dove in with the neighbors and started working on annexation. Loved this work back then and still find it very satisfying today.