How to Become a VA Fiduciary

Published: May 29, 2017
how to become a va fiduciary

 

Veteran Affairs (VA) fiduciaries manage veterans’ assets in cases when they are unable to do so themselves. In many situations, relatives and close friends of veterans fulfill such a role. Sometimes external contractors may also be hired to act as fiduciaries.

A VA fiduciary ensures that the veteran’s finances are properly utilized. This entails managing daily expenses and safeguarding the veteran’s finances. VA fiduciaries need to get registered with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. If they manage assets above $20,000, they also need to obtain a VA fiduciary surety bond.

If you need to take on the role of a fiduciary, or want to operate a business that offers such services, here is how to become a VA fiduciary.

Apply for a free no-obligations quote on your surety bond!

The VA fiduciary responsibilities

The role of a person appointed as a VA fiduciary is to manage the income of a veteran and protect their financial interests. Some of the most important responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the veteran and any recognized dependants receive the finances they need for daily expenses
  • Managing any bank issues, loans and credits
  • Keeping records of all transactions, even if an official accounting process is not required

The fiduciary has to act in all circumstances in the interest of the veteran, also referred to as the beneficiary.  

The step-by-step process how to become a VA fiduciary

A VA fiduciary may be chosen among family members, court-appointed individuals, or professional fiduciaries.

Becoming a fiduciary for a family member or friend

In case you would like to become a fiduciary for a relative or friend:

#1. Submit a request to a VA office near you. It has to contain the veteran’s names and VA file number, as well as your personal information

#2. Undergo a criminal background check

#3. Have your credit score examined

#4 Attend an interview with a VA representative who will assess your willingness and suitability to become a fiduciary

Becoming a professional VA fiduciary

If you want to become a professional VA fiduciary, you have to apply with the Department of Veteran Affairs.

#1. Submit a VA fiduciary application with your resume and cover letter to [email protected]. The email needs to contain your personal information, mailing address and the name of your organization, if you belong to any

#2. Undergo a criminal background check

#3. Have your credit score examined

#4. Attend an interview with a VA representative

 

For both options, the Department of Veteran Affairs may conduct interviews with witnesses who can vet for you.

The Department also makes onsite reviews on a regular basis. Their purpose is to ensure the interests of veterans are protected. Periodic reviews are obligatory for fiduciaries working for more than 20 beneficiaries and manage assets above $50,000.

For further information about the VA fiduciary process, you can consult the Department’s VA Fiduciary Guide.

The VA fiduciary surety bond

Besides the other requirements outlined above, you may need to post a VA fiduciary bond if the veterans’ assets you manage surpass $20,000. Spouses and court-appointed fiduciaries are exempt from this rule. The bond amount is determined by the Department on a case-by-case basis. Often it is calculated as the total funds you will be in charge of, as well as the income of the veteran that will be received during the following accounting period.

The purpose of the bond is to guarantee that you will comply with relevant laws in your operations as a fiduciary. In case you transgress from your obligations, a bond claim can be used to compensate the harmed beneficiary.

The price of your bond, also known as surey bond cost, is a fraction of the bond amount you need to post. In most cases, it can be between 2%-5%. You can deduct the premium from the beneficiary’s assets, but you need to stay bonded for the duration of your role as a fiduciary.

 

Do you need to obtain a fiduciary bond to act as a VA fiduciary? You can apply today for a free quote online. Have questions about the bonding? Don’t hesitate to contact us at 877.514.5146.

Apply for your surety bond today and lock your rate for 90 days!

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

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