How do I find accountants and financial advisers for my elderly California Mom and her trust?
August 12, 2009 6:00 AM   Subscribe

How do I find accountants and financial advisers for my elderly California Mom and her trust?

Several years ago, Mom moved to California after her stroke to be near family. She has been very stubborn about keeping her out-of-state accountant and stock broker and bristles at the thought of changing them. Now Mom is 87, in assisted living and getting very forgetful. It's time to find advisers that are closer.

I've been chosen to look for:
1. A local accountant / CPA to advise us on tax issues and the trust.
2. A local financial adviser (may be included with #1?).
3. A local stock broker.
Local = Walnut Creek, CA area. Bonus for Wells Fargo.

I need advice on finding the right people, what kind of questions to ask when interviewing them and any other helpful tips or resources.

Thanks Mefi!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get recommendations from a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Go to to start.
posted by megatherium at 6:18 AM on August 12, 2009

Before I moved to Oregon, I was an estate planning and probate/trust administration paralegal in California. Since your mom is now a California resident, she might want to have her trust and other estate planning documents reviewed to make sure they work under California law. To find a list of excellent estate planning attorneys in California (or any state, for that matter), check out the member directory of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) at A good attorney will be able to provide referrals to accountants and other advisors who understand how to work with trusts. If you and your mother explain her situation to the attorney, s/he will be able to help you devise your list of questions, concerns, and goals to discuss with the financial advisors. Good luck!
posted by Boogiechild at 9:10 AM on August 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are *tons* of financial advisors for the elderly in the area because of Rossmoor. I wish I could give you a specific suggestion, but you might want to try calling some "front-desk" type people at Rossmoor or Manor Care or wherever your mother is and see if they recommend/endorse anyone, or ask other people/people's children in your mother's facility.
posted by brainmouse at 9:14 AM on August 12, 2009

Ask Wells Fargo if they have a trust department that will deal with your mom's amount and type of assets. Most large banks have a trust department. However, most only want to deal with $1M plus accounts. It will also not be cheap, with fees in the 1% to 2% of assets per year range.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 11:07 AM on August 12, 2009

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