Fiduciaries serve by court appointment as estate trustees, court-appointed committee(s) or conservatorship(s), guardians, and/or personal representatives of estates. They also serve by agreement as estate trustees and/or agents under powers of attorney. Additionally, they may serve in any capacity of the estate's trust assets, such as property manager and/or business manager.
Fiduciaries are governed by state or provincial statute. Each county or province has a probate court as part of its (superior) court system. While court-supervised matters have an extra layer of protection, all fiduciary accounts are protected by state or provincial licensing by way of their respective probate code. Additionally, any fiduciary who is a member of any organization is held in accordance with those bylaws and ethics codes.
Fiduciaries must meet the requirements of their state or provincial licensing agencies, which generally require annual review and approval of continuing education units (CEUs), along with the ability to be bonded. CEUs may be acquired by attending affiliated vendor educational conferences and/or meetings but do not require membership of said organizations. While some may advocate for membership of an organization, it is not a requirement any longer to be a member of such whereas prior to licensing it was the only form of protection the consumer had for complaints. A consumer should consider the caseload of a fiduciary -- lots of cases means less consideration to your family dynamics or attention to detail. Educational background and community involvement should be considered -- is the fiduciary experienced with nursing or business (a common difference in fiduciaries). These are just a few examples of what to consider. The bottom line is one should look for a well-rounded skillset and a personality to match what you or your family expect in the long run.
Continuing education is a very important part of maintaining ones license. However, before one can claim licensure, they must qualify by experience or by education. It is important to realize that prior to legislation there were no formal degree requirements. With the creation of the Fiduciaries Bureau that changed to ensure world-knowledge experience to provide for a better service to those being protected.
Now one must hold a baccalaureate as a minimum to consider a new career as a fiduciary. The exceptions are with experience: an associates and three years of experience, or no degree and five years of experience. Note that experience is not one client but three or more unrelated persons.
To promote continued growth and understanding of legislative changes, every fiduciary must complete 15 units of continuing education units (CEUs) per year, with three (3) units of ethics related material.