Fiduciary Management and Trust and Conservatorship Accounting

Elaine2Elaine2 Member ✭✭
I am in the process of becoming a licensed professional fiduciary in California.  As I have been meeting other fiduciaries-- most of them use Quicken to manage client accounts. A fact, I find stunning given that Quicken is not designed to handle these  unique kinds of accounts.

The fact is that whether your brother Bob was named as Successor Trustee to your parent's trust, or you manage your sister's probate conservatorship, these are legally distinct types of accounts that depending on its structure or triggering events, are subject to an accounting to the court.

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel have developed templates to be used in Quicken: http://www.actec.org/publications/quicken-templates-FAQ/ .  These are helpful.

Given our aging population and conflicts that often arise regarding the transfer of wealth and wealth management or lack thereof, it would be enormously helpful to create a new version of quicken (you already have have several or incorporate trust and conservatorship accounting into one of your other versions-- that enable families to effectively and properly manage the finances and assets of aging family members.

In addition, adding the Emergency inventory list back into this system would be of enormous value to your customers because estates have to inventoried and appraised.  I succeeded in adding the file back into 2016-- but it would be really, really, really helpful to just include it in your product. I'd pay extra for it!

The new-- product could include a combination of investment management, business, and trust accounting features. 

Quickbooks is designed for business and is a completely different category of product.  Trust accounting is a legally different unique kind of account-- .

Wealth is being lost in this country in  the billions of dollars because among other things, there are no planning tools.  Quicken would be doing the nation a great service by building the necessary tools for consumers to better protect aging adults. 
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  • QuickenUserDCQuickenUserDC Member
    edited February 2017

    I never really though about this. When my father died, my mother got everything (both as a married spouse and by will) so the 'accounting' was very uncomplicated and easy. I can see that when my mother dies, it will become a bit more involved.

    Good idea.

    As for the Emergency Records Organizer (ERO) - yes, you have to manually add it, although any data that was in it from prior versions is still available. However, the ERO needs a work over. There are fields and types that should be added and more automated tools available.

  • Quicken SarahQuicken Sarah Administrator, Moderator ✭✭✭✭

    Hello All,

    This Idea seems to have fallen stagnant and due to the Age of the request and lack of User Votes/Comments, will be archived within the next 7 business days. 

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  • Jim_HarmanJim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019
    I can certainly attest to the usefulness of Quicken for managing the finances of aging family members. While they are still alive, about all it takes is a separate QDF file for the other person.

    I am also using Quicken and TurboTax Business as a Trustee to track the finances and prepare tax returns for a trust that benefits a family member. Most of the necessary features are already in place as long as the investments are not too complex. It all depends on the provisions of the trust document.

    I find that a customized version of the Banking Summary report provides most of the year-end information needed.

    The alternative of using a bank trust department as the trustee or co-trustee can be very expensive, costing more than 1% of the trust's assets per year. 

    I found the book "Estate and Trust Administration for Dummies" quite helpful in understanding the duties of Executors and Trustees.


    -- Jim QWin Premier subscription
  • Rocket J SquirrelRocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019
    I think it would be difficult to implement to produce specialty accounts and/or reports acceptable to state courts. Fiduciary laws vary - a lot - by state.

    I was legal guardian for my mother in New Jersey, where reporting requirements are simple. Ordinary Quicken generated cash flow reports that could be easily massaged in Excel into a one-page format acceptable to the NJ court annually.

    But California conservatorship requirements are much more demanding. CA wants a huge amount of detail, essentially all transactions rather than a summary. Even so, I think Quicken as-is could do the job with reports exported and formatted in Excel.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Jim_HarmanJim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Another difficulty with using Quicken for trust accounting is the requirement to maintain separate Principal and Income accounts.

    If anyone has a solution for this that does not require a lot of manual entry, it would be good to learn what it is.
    -- Jim QWin Premier subscription
  • RICCHARICCHA Member
    edited December 2019
    As a professional Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Fiduciary (aka an uneducated/unlicensed, not court appointed responsible party), I have come to the conclusion that we are on the cusp of being a significant enough user group, that this should be investigated more. As the VA moves away from professionals like accountants, attorneys, wealth management groups, etc that can bill for extra services beyond the VA allowable commission compensation, more unlicensed professionals are being asked to take on the responsibility of managing incompetent veteran benefits.

     Just like many online games these days give you a taste of the excitement and ask you to pay real world money to be a significant competitor, I would be willing to pay for a template that is specific to my needs. A template format that could fill in or provide all required info of your 21p-4706b annual/final accounting form, as well as track expenses for the beneficiary, and tools that allow simple management of bill pay parties (ie, tags that help with auto assign payee/category), information management of recurring bills, fiscal year reporting that cycles yearly to the day rather than the 1st of the month (with ability to +/- days to fit the statement end date as allowed by the VA or California supreme court), as well as the ability to carryover the balance from the last accounting (aka estate at beginning of period) so that last years ending accounting is added to the total funds under management for the current accounting.

     This can be extended to court appointed (professional, non-corporate) fiduciary accounting's, and a whole host of other specific reporting requirements.

     For the single user (ie, daughter, son, cousin etc.) a one time purchase of $10 for the report feature is more than reasonable, and for the professional (non-corporate) user $8-$10 per account would be beneficial to both the Quicken business and the professional fiduciary.

     For me, at $10 per template purchase (per beneficiary account), this would be another $220-$290+ per year beyond the purchase of Quicken. This can save me 80+ hours per year in VA accounting's.

     I would also recommend an option to add a single or a few bank accounts, rather than having Quicken find 40+ accounts associated with my master account, then having to Ignore all but 1 or 2 accounts found. This would save me a bit of time every-time I acquire a new case (add account number=12122121 and link , but ignore all others.).

     I would also recommend charging for extra data sets. Basic Quicken gives 30 data sets, each 10 beyond 30 cost ?$$$?

     This is all easy I theory, but will require thousands of hours in development, training, and support, so i know changes/additions aren't taken lightly, but this is definitely an area that can be improved. If all else fails, providing documentation that allows a power user to make there own templates like the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, could be a draw to the product.

    Anyway, i just thought I'd throw a few things out there that might help the little people like me. More and more licensed fiduciaries have been rejecting the work as a VA fiduciary because all of the financial/liable risks, and the extremely low pay, which means the VA is looking more and more for the everyday Jill or Joe to take on the responsibility of looking after incompetent veteran funds.

     Throw us a bone Quicken! Make our VA or Social Security appointed fiduciaries lives just a little more easy, allowing us to help more veterans in need.

    Thanks,

    RC

    P.S. i have a bunch more ideas to make the software more friendly or powerfully but I'm not sure my suggestions are being heard.
  • webistratorwebistrator Member
    edited February 11
    FWIW...the latest NOLO edition of Trustee's Legal Companion, p. 93, recommends Quicken and Quickbooks for trust management and related chores:

    "...If you are administering a trust that will exist for more than six
    months, though, you should buy basic accounting software, such as
    Quicken or QuickBooks, to keep track of the movement of money in each
    trust account. The cost is a perfectly permissible trust-related expense. If
    you spend a few hours to set up the accounts, you will avoid countless
    problems at the end of the year.
    What about free online accounting programs, such as Mint
    (www.mint.com)? You can use one, but before you dive in, make sure
    that you can print out reports showing how the money has been spent
    for each trust account. Some online programs are organized for instant
    access, not for printouts.
    For most trusts, Quicken should be sufficient. It is easy to use it to
    track various categories of expenses, balance bank accounts, and keep
    track of multiple investment accounts. If you are administering a trust
    that has many accounts receivable, or many different customers or businesses,
    QuickBooks, a more full-featured accounting program, might be a
    better choice. ..."

    With that in mind, I'd think Quicken folks would step up and honor those kudos from a highly respected "everyperson's" source of info. As a newly minted successor trustee-in-waiting I was about to jump into Quicken for the first time, but now I'm confused as to what flavor or Quicken to adopt.

    J. in CO
  • NotACPANotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 11
    Nolo, while well respected, is NOT part of Quicken, NOT owned by Quicken.
    AND, Quicken is financial software ... not LEGAL software. 
    If Q doesn't meet your needs ... look for something else.
    Also note that your quote reads "For most trusts".  As noted above, Q can't possibly meet the needs of Trusts in every state.

    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription,  Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • FrankxFrankx Member ✭✭✭✭
    While I can understand why some folks might use Quicken to track the financial activity of a small estate or trust, or the financial activity of an aged parent or relative, it is not designed for that purpose and I doubt that Quicken would ever consider entering into that market.  Nor would Quicken go through the significant development process to make changes for such a limited market.

    Personally, I'd rather see Quicken continue to work on current products and enhancing them (and I am speaking as someone who has administered and managed multiple estates and trusts). 

    If I could, I would vote a big NO on this idea.

    Just sayin'
    Frankx

    Quicken H&B-2017 - Ver. R19.8 - Build 26.1.19.8  - Windows 10 Home - Ver. 1909
                                             - - - - Quicken User since 1984 - - - 
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