Trusts, Probate Estates & Conservatorships
Trusted with What You
Care About Most
ABOUT PAIS MONTGOMERY FIDUCIARY
Our team of California-licensed professional fiduciaries offers a broad and diverse range of professional experience which enables us to provide a level of specialized, responsive services which simply cannot be matched by the trust divisions of major banks. The principals of PMF, Jack Montgomery and Jodi Pais Montgomery, have built a thriving Southern California-based practice which provides expert, reliable, and insightful case management.
PMF’s professional staff offers expertise in managing businesses, working with limited partnerships, resolving contentious family issues, maximizing and protecting the value of intellectual property rights, managing real property assets, and developing and executing plans to optimize trust finances. Plus we’re bilingual, so your native Spanish-speaking clients will be able to work with someone who speaks their language.
WHAT ARE PRIVATE PROFESSIONAL
FIDUCIARIES AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
By definition, a fiduciary is a person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another. In the state of California, private professional fiduciaries are licensed by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau of the Department of Consumer Affairs, enabling us to act on behalf of multiple persons not related to us for a fee. In practice, we most often serve as trustees, probate estate administrators and conservators of the estate and person. Acting in these positions, the responsibilities we undertake are tremendous because of the considerable trust that others place in us to manage and optimize their financial assets, protect their health, safety and quality of life, and ensure that their end-of-life wishes are respected and properly fulfilled. The PMF team has established a position of prominence in the southern California trust and estate community by demonstrating—day in and day out—our abiding commitment to honor the trust others place in us, and by performing our fiduciary duties in a manner that’s professional, competent, savvy, responsive and fundamentally fair to those who offer us their trust.
Drawing upon our very substantial experience with administration of trusts of various types, the PMF team strives, first and foremost, to ensure that the trust instrument is thoroughly understood and that the actions we take are scrupulously guided by the settlors’ wishes. Accomplishing this requires a broad and deep understanding of the complexities of marshaling of financial assets, optimization of return enjoyed by those assets while maintaining an appropriately balanced investment portfolio, management of obligations of the trust (including routine bill payment), filing of tax returns and resolution of disputes among trust beneficiaries.
PROBATE ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
Given the current popularity of living trusts for avoidance of probate fees (among many other compelling advantages they offer), the administration of probate estates has become something of a specialty practice for private professional fiduciaries. But for the heirs of decedent estates which don’t include a trust—and often don’t even include a will—the substantial expertise in probate administration offered by the PMF team can make the difference between a protracted, costly, highly-litigated probate process and an expediently managed estate administration which is fundamentally fair and reflective of the wishes of the decedent. That’s because we understand the complexities of probate administrations and the very special demands of working with the court for resolution and approval of key issues involved—including marshaling and appraisal of estate assets, identification of legitimate heirs of the estate and submission of a petition for account which includes a specific plan for final distribution of assets
SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST ADMINISTRATION
The PMF Team is especially committed to administration of this specialized form of trust instrument because of the substantial benefits it provides for disabled persons—specifically the ability of the trustee to make discretionary payments for the beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance and support while preserving his or her eligibility for means-tested public benefits. Our team’s substantial experience with the administration of Special Needs Trusts is fundamental to ensuring that expenditure plans are developed commensurate with the trust’s (often limited) financial assets, the beneficiary’s eligibility for public benefits is preserved and the trust’s assets are protected from invasion by outside creditors.
CONSERVATORSHIPS OF THE PERSON & ESTATE
Without question, the greatest position of trust and professional responsibility a private professional fiduciary can undertake is that of conservator of the person and estate of an individual who has lost the capacity to make his or her own decisions regarding issues of placement, personal health, medical treatment and management of personal financial assets. PMF began its practice focusing on conservatorships of the person and estate (and administration of the trusts that often accompany them), so we have a very substantial depth of knowledge with respect to this extraordinarily complex and challenging variety of court-supervised casework. Perhaps most important, we have an enduring commitment to preserving the health and welfare of the persons we conserve according to their wishes as we understand them, and to maximizing their personal autonomy within the limits of their capacities
JODI PAIS MONTGOMERY NCG, CLPF License #535
Jodi, a California-licensed professional fiduciary, is one of the two principals of Pais Montgomery Fiduciary. She is formally trained in social work and strongly committed to meeting the particular needs of conservatees and special needs trust beneficiaries—and protecting them from all forms of physical and financial abuse. Jodi has substantial experience in probate estate administration, trust administration and conservatorships of both the person and estate. She has served as a counselor with AIDS Centers Pasadena and as a service volunteer with the Special Olympics.
DAVID BERRENT CLPF License #780
David Berrent is a California licensed professional fiduciary and partner at Pais Montgomery Fiduciary. He's a specialist in probate matters for families and attorneys who need someone to serve as: Trustee, Successor Trustee, Estate Executor, Probate Administrator or Conservator. Pais Montgomery Fiduciary specializes in tackling problem assets and estates struggling with contentious litigation. David often serves as a neutral third-party trustee or conservator in cases where there is litigation over a trust, estate or elder law matter. He also brings 30 years' experience in the entertainment industry giving him unique skills for management of trusts and estates containing intellectual property assets.
RAÚL MARTÍNEZ CUETO CLPF License #903
Raul, a California-licensed professional fiduciary, is an experienced and passionate advocate for individual seniors and the senior community. Born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, Raul is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of conservatees and trust beneficiaries who are native Spanish speakers. He served more than ten years as Director of Programs and Operations, and then as Executive Deputy Director, at the Pasadena Senior Center, which provides various services to more than 2,250 members of the local senior community. Raul also served as Food Distribution Manager of the Pasadena AIDS Service Center, a non-profit organization which provides counseling, food, housing and other essential support to HIV/AIDS patients.
JACK MONTGOMERY CLPF License #457
Jack, a California-licensed professional fiduciary, is one of the two principals of Pais Montgomery Fiduciary. A mechanical engineer by training, he has substantial experience in probate estate administration, trust administration and conservatorships of both the estate and person. Jack spent the first 30+ years of his career working for global chemical companies, including Du Pont, Bayer, Monsanto and INEOS, in positions ranging from plant engineer to regional sales and distribution manager. In the latter capacity, Jack performed a broad range of financial functions including budgeting and revenue forecasting and, for this reason, he is PMF’s lead for resolution of complex financial issues associated with the management of substantial trust and estate assets.