Topics Discussed in a Typical VA Fiduciary Interview

Typically, field examiners from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) conduct periodic investigations of fiduciaries who handle the monthly compensation or pension payments made by the VA to veterans and their dependents to insure the appropriate use of funds. Fiduciaries as well as the claimants themselves are often unnecessarily concerned about these investigations. Although it might to best if an attorney or agent attend these meetings, fiduciaries and claimants often attend these field examinations alone, and without representation. This blog post provides an overview of what to expect at a fiduciary interview.

The VA field examiners will often ask about the personal finances of both the proposed fiduciary and the claimant, including banking information and credit check on the fiduciary. If unreimbursed medical expenses exceed the claimant’s income, the VA will want an explanation about where the additional money is coming from.

The VA will also run a criminal check on the proposed fiduciary and can demand that a bond be posted against any lump sum amounts owed to the claimant.  In addition, a separate checking account will have to be set up which is specifically for VA benefit.

Recently, a list of questions/investigation topics was provided to one of my clients by a field examiner in preparation for a recent field examination. These questions/investigation topics illustrate the areas typically examined by the VA during a fiduciary interview:

I will need the following information at the interview:

  1. Please have a list of all sources of income and monthly amounts received.
  2. A copy of last months (or the most recent) bank statement(s) on all checking and savings accounts, Trusts, CD’s, IRA’s, Annuities, Money Markets, etc.  (if you print online statements, please provide full account numbers).
  3. If covered by Medicaid, effective date and Medicaid Number if available.
  4. A list of all expenses and amounts (i.e. rent $3000, personal spending $100 for snacks/eating out, medications $200, car insurance $1,000/yr, hair, depends, toiletries, clothing, phone …etc.).
  5. Two (2) character references for you (no relatives) (bring their name, address, telephone number, or a reference letter stating: (1) how long they have known you, (2) how they know you; (3) your character, and (4) their address and telephone number in the letter.
  6. If a car is titled in the recipient’s name, provide description or car, approximate value, balance owed.
  7. If the recipient owns a home, provide address, approximate value, balance owed.
  8. If the recipient has a pre-paid burial, provide: with whom, approximate value, balance owed.  (Provide copy of pre-paid burial contract)
  9. If  the recipient has life insurance, provide type and with whom, approximate value, balance owed.
  10. Next of Kin and (a person if something were to happen to you): (name, relation, address and telephone number); and any other family members of record.
  11. Name of the recipient’s primary care physician, including contact information.
  12. A list of the recipient’s medication(s).

If you want to send the information before our interview, you may e-mail it to me at my e-mail address below, or you may provide copies at the interview.

If possible, attorneys should attend a fiduciary interview.  I was able to sit in on a recent interview and I gained invaluable insight.  Now, before one of my families has a fiduciary meeting, I can review what to expect with them.  I have had many people say to me that our talk prior to the meeting was extremely helpful and took away any fears that they had.  The fiduciary interview will stop being a stressful experience for our clients once they understand the process.

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