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  • Lori Cochrane, Principal Fiduciary

Digital tools for intake completion during social isolation and beyond.


Cochrane Support Services is proud to offer you the convenience of Cochrane Support Documents -- fillable forms transferred digitally. With our new intake process for assigning Lori Cochrane Power of Attorney for Health Care, we hold interviews and conferences via live video conferencing. Once we are engaged, you gain access to Cochrane Support Documents to complete forms online, print, and send electronically, followed by a video conference for review.


Send your questions to lori@cochranecss.com, or call today (916) 705-7309


Here is a sample:









For parents of a child with special needs many questions arise as the child becomes an adult: Will they be able to live independently? Will they have an adequate and dignified place to live? Will they be able to pay their own bills? Who will watch over my child to ensure their needs are met?


If you have come to the realization of life-long dependence for your child, planning for their transition into adulthood will go a long way to ease your mind. Before your child turns 18-years-old, becoming an adult, it is important to plan for who will make decisions on their behalf if they are not able. Consult with an attorney to discuss whether assigning an agent with power of attorney or establishing a court conservatorship is appropriate.


Who can be assigned as a decision maker?


Parents are the likeliest chosen decision makers. The usual recommendation is to select one parent primarily and the other parent as an alternate. Both parents may be assigned as co-conservators if your adult child does not have capacity.


The usual recommendation when planning is to include a succession plan in the event you become unavailable, incapacitated, or die. You may consider including a close responsible adult as an alternate. Whoever is selected they must be over 18 years of age, and be willing to serve in this role.


The qualities of a person best suited to act as a decision maker for a person with special needs is someone who will act in the best interest of the person, separate from their own interests. They must be trustworthy and capable as a strong advocate navigating and adapting the plan of care as the person ages. They must have the knowledge necessary to preserve the person’s public benefits and prudently manage their finances. Direct service providers or their employees may not serve in this role.

There are professionals who specialize in this area who can help you plan, manage services, and advocate for your adult child’s best interest.


How will I know when it’s time to seek help?


Planning for your inability to serve as your child’s decision maker is wise. The loss of your ability or willingness to manage important things isn’t likely to be black and white or happen overnight. As time progresses and the realities of aging become known, you as a parent may find yourself less-willing or less-able to manage everything for your adult child. Maybe you are feeling it is best to be busy in your own lives or you want to help your adult child become less dependent on you.


The need for less dependency or a less restrictive arrangement may become apparent. You may choose to step-back somewhat to provide your adult child the tools or resources which will be available to them as you become less available. Arranging for your adult child to live outside of your home with the necessary supports will be important to do before long. Finding an appropriate living arrangement along with navigating the maze of resources and public benefits, can be managed by a professional. You might consider involving a licensed professional fiduciary to help with the transition between your adult child being your dependent, to your adult child living independent of you.


What can a licensed professional fiduciary do to help the transition?


Licensed professional fiduciaries provide critical services to help protect and maintain quality of life for vulnerable people. When it comes to people with special needs, some professional fiduciaries who specialize can identify critical needs, manage a person’s publicly provided services, protect their public benefits, and consult with doctors and attorneys as necessary.


A Licensed professional fiduciary can open an *ABLE Act account on behalf of a person and serve as the legal representative managing the account.


A licensed professional fiduciary can also serve as a consultant, or as agent for power of attorney for health care and/or for finances. They can also serve as a court appointed conservator for a person with special needs under a limited conservatorship. Some fiduciaries specialize in serving as either health care agent or finance agent as trustee.


In California, fiduciaries are licensed and regulated by the state of California’s Professional Fiduciary Bureau under the Department of Consumer Affairs. You can learn about the high standards and stringent requirements licensed professional fiduciaries are held to by visiting their website at www.fiduciary.ca.gov.


*You can learn more about the ABLE Act by visiting www.ablenrc.org.


Lori Cochrane is a local, licensed professional fiduciary specializing in all matters of the person. She practices a person-first-and-centered philosophy as a special needs and health care advocate. She earned her B.A. in Behavioral Psychology and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from CSU, Sacramento. She is a professional member of the National Guardianship Association, Professional Fiduciary Association of California, The Arc of California, and the Placer County BAR Association. She has been helping families during times of difficulty and transitions since 2000. Lori can be reached at 916-705-7309 or Lori@CochraneCSS.com.




Planning your end-of-life care options is difficult yet necessary. It is your right to make health care decisions for yourself and you can plan now for your medical care if you are unable to speak for yourself in the future. Visiting with an attorney to discuss completing an Advance Directive is your first step. Whether you are just beginning to plan or are revisiting a plan you developed long ago, the time to finish or update this task is now.


Without the legal designation of a person to speak for you if you are not able, your wishes may not be honored. If your closest loved ones live far away, or are unwilling or unable to speak for you, it may be wise to plan for an alternate person who lives local to you, and consider a professional to fill that role.


What is a power of attorney for health care agent?


A “power of attorney” is the documented assignment of a person, the “agent” you name who has the power to manage your affairs. For health care, this person is designated to represent your decisions if you are unable to make your decisions known. There are a variety of reasons why a person may be unable to make their decisions known. Some reasons are obvious, such as unconsciousness, and others can be an indication of a slow decline due to dementia or other ailment of adults as we age.


Most Americans die in an institutional setting, from a decline in health. Planning for this decline in health and capacity will benefit you and those you love near and far. Having someone close by and involved in your life, who will monitor your care if you are infirmed, can help you rest, reducing the stress and fear you may encounter. Your assigned power of attorney for health care agent is a natural person to have included in your care before you become infirmed or begin to decline. Planning for this protection may help you stay in your home longer as you age.


Who can you select as your agent?


The usual recommendation is to select a primary health care agent and an alternate. In the event your primary agent is unavailable the alternate can step-in to serve. They must be over 18 years of age, be willing to serve in this role for you, be able to act on your wishes separate from their own, be someone you trust, and be capable as a strong advocate handling conflict and differing opinions. Your health care provider or their employee may not serve in this role.


Often times spouses select one another as their health care agent and a responsible adult child as their alternate. As time progresses and the realities of aging-in-place become known, adult children sometimes find themselves too far away and with the realization that one parent may not be available for the other.

You may consider having your adult child as your primary health care agent and ask a close friend who may live nearby and who has similar beliefs and values to be your alternate agent. This way you have someone local to check-in on day to day concerns until it becomes necessary for your adult child to travel to you.


You may also choose not to burden your family or friends. Maybe your children are busy in their own lives or you want to avoid conflict among family members. Or, if you are concerned that your spouse, adult child, or a friend may not be suitable or competent to serve as your health care agent, you might consider selecting a licensed professional fiduciary.


Why select a licensed professional fiduciary?


Licensed professional fiduciaries can serve as your agent for power of attorney for health care and also for finances. Some fiduciaries specialize in serving as either health care agent or finance agent as your trustee.


When it comes to matters of a person and their health care, licensed professional fiduciaries are involved with seniors, and people with disabilities who select them as their health care agent for managing their daily and medical care. Fiduciaries provide critical services to help protect and maintain quality of life for people. They identify when to bring in help from other professionals to manage a person’s care at home, and consult with doctors and attorneys as necessary.


In California, fiduciaries are licensed and regulated by the state of California’s Professional Fiduciary Bureau under the Department of Consumer Affairs. You can learn about the high standards and stringent requirements licensed professional fiduciaries are held to by visiting their website at www.fiduciary.ca.gov.


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If you find yourself with no clear person to select as your health care agent, consider choosing a licensed professional fiduciary who specializes in you as a person.


Lori Cochrane is a licensed professional fiduciary and a professional power of attorney for health care agent. She specializes in all matters of the person and practices a person centered philosophy as a health care advocate. She has been helping families during times of difficulty and transitions since 2000. Lori can be reached at 916-705-7309 or Lori@CochraneCSS.com.

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NOTIFICATION TO CONSUMERS

Lori Cochrane and Love C. Miller are licensed and regulated by the California Department of Consumer Affairs,
Professional Fiduciaries Bureau. Website www.fiduciary.ca.gov   --   Verify license status at www.search.dca.ca.gov

You can also reach the Bureau by telephone at (916) 574-7340

 

Heidi Steinke is licensed and regulated by the State Bar of California.  She is practicing as a Professional Fiduciary,

not providing legal advice. Website www.calbar.ca.gov  --  Verify license status at www.calbar.ca.gov/public
You can also reach the State Bar by telephone at (415) 538-2000

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