When she became an attorney, Kristen’s practice was focused on helping people to exercise their rights against large companies who had taken advantage of them, or injured them physically or financially, whether it be an employer, insurance company, product manufacturer, or service provider. Kristen has thus spent her life being an advocate for others, ensuring their needs were met, and showing care and compassion at all times and to all people. Even before she became a Professional Fiduciary, Kristen was performing the work of one.
In 2006, Kristen’s elderly great Aunt, who lived in San Diego, suffered a debilitating stroke, losing her ability to walk. She also began experiencing the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease. At the time, all of the family lived on the East Coast and it was very difficult for them to manage her medical treatment, identify caregivers and suitable living arrangements, coordinate her care, and handle her financial and estate matters (which included numerous investments and a Trust) from so far away. Although they considered moving her to be with them, they did not want to take her out of San Diego where she had many friends and was very involved with her community, her church, and numerous charities. So, with much difficulty, and relying on her elderly friends for help, Kristen and her family managed everything from afar. A few years later, Kristen’s 57-year-old father suffered a large stroke. Kristen was responsible for not only coordinating and advocating for his care, assisting with his rehabilitation, and adapting his home but, also, with addressing the family’s financial needs, as he would no longer be able to work. Although distance was not an issue, she had to balance her commitment to his needs along with her busy law practice and other responsibilities.
In 2010, Kristen moved to California and took over her great Aunt’s care coordination and management of her Trust and Estate for the remainder of her life. Shortly after her Aunt’s passing, one of her friends—who had been helping with her Aunt’s affairs for many years but had no family of her own—began to decline. She could no longer drive, care for her family home, was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was not eating well, had difficulty remembering appointments, and could not manage her financial affairs. Since that time, Kristen has helped her with her finances, her Trust and Estate matters, finding appropriate living arrangements (more than once as her health has declined), managing her private care staff, ensuring she receives appropriate medical care, and ensuring that she is able to socialize, do things that she enjoys, and generally lives a full and happy life.
In addition to her life experiences, Kristen has substantial education and training that qualify her to act as a Professional Fiduciary. Importantly, her training as an attorney provides an understanding of the legal issues underlying her work as a Professional Fiduciary and the needs of her clients and their families. In addition, although not required of attorneys, Kristen has taken numerous courses to enable her to obtain her License as a California Professional Fiduciary and National Certified Guardian. She also completed a Certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management for Trustees and a will soon complete the Certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management for Conservators through the Fiduciary Management program at California State University – Fullerton.
Further, Kristen has an extensive background in psychology and working with individuals with mental health issues. Before college Kristen worked with mentally disabled and delayed children in early intervention programs and in group homes with mentally disabled adults and seniors. In addition, the focus of her graduate studies in psychology was adult psychopathologies. This background makes her well-suited to address mental health and disability when those matters are the cause of the need for a professional fiduciary and/or a factor contributing to the needs of her clients.
Kristen’s background, training, and experience has not only provided her with the understanding of what is needed to address various issues and the tools to address those needs but, also, an appreciation of the difficulties that come along with a loved one needing assistance. She also understands family dynamics, the complexities of managing another person’s affairs, and how difficult it can be to trust someone else to handle a loved one’s care and finances. Kristen looks forward to working with you and your family to establish trust, and to ensure that you know that your loved one’s needs will be taken care of with the same attention, care, and compassion that she gives to her own family members.