Location, Location, Location!
How we go the extra mile
Over the course of our almost 35 years, a common question we get asked is, “How can you effectively serve clients that are located out of town?” We provide clients with exceptional, personalized service to better meet their needs — whether they live down the road or halfway around the world. In actuality, over 80% of our new clients live in areas outside of our three physical locations in the Northwest.
With clients in all four corners of the world, we utilize our vast network of expert professionals in services such as real estate, property appraisals, taxes, accounting, auctioneering, legal work, care management and consulting. They are our “boots on the ground” while our teams bridge the gap between those professionals, our clients and their families.
As we are here to serve our clients irrespective of their location, the following stories help illustrate how we have enriched our clients' lives—near or far.
Assisting Clients Move
Being closer to family for support, needing a long-term healthcare facility, or downsizing from a large family home to an easier to upkeep location are all various reasons why our clients may be moving. Buying and selling a home along with packing up one’s belongings can be complex and time consuming, and it’s something we routinely help with! As experienced professionals, we know what it takes to get the job done in a timely manner—even from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
From Florida to Alaska
In 2022, we were appointed as successor trustee for a young adult Alaskan Native who was living in an expensive, full-time care facility (over $1000/day) in Florida, near unsupportive family. As a paralyzed individual, he was completely reliant on others for his well-being. Before the account transitioned to Northwest Trustee, the Alaskan Native's care manager expressed concerns to us that his care needs were not being met.
When we became trustee, we worked with a care manager team to bring him back to Alaska where he could qualify for Medicaid and be closer to his father. Thanks to the resourcefulness of our networks, we teamed-up with a non-profit that provided qualified escorts and arranged for our client to travel on a commercial airline at one-tenth the cost of medical transport. Back in Alaska, Medicaid paid for his room and board at a quality group home with around-the-clock care selected by the care manager. With the “bleed” of our client's resources stanched, the trust was able to purchase a new accessible van “tricked out” with an impressive sound system and fancy lights that brought a smile to our client's face. The trust was also able to fund supportive “day-hab” services that provided interesting activities and therapies not paid for by Medicaid.
We are often asked to assist clients in unexpected or inopportune circumstances. Our teams are adept at aiding clients navigate difficult situations so they can get back to their daily lives.
Set-up for Success
A high-functioning client in his mid-sixties, lived independently in a remote area of the Pacific Coast, had a full-time job, yet struggled with managing his finances. His parents had set-up a trust to care for him after their lifetimes. When we were appointed to serve as Successor Trustee, our client was at risk of eviction due to extensive back rent owed to his landlord and his bank account was overdrawn. As a result of limited funds, he faced challenges getting around and having adequate food to survive.
One of our first goals as Trustee was to ensure his landlord was paid in full for the back-rent owed. Then, we initiated monthly rent payments directly to the landlord to avoid future missed payments. We also set-up a controlled debit card and funded it monthly, which gave our client the resources he needed to buy groceries and pay for other daily living expenses while encouraging independence. Another unique challenge included no cell phone reception in his remote area, so we arranged for a landline to ensure communication was never an issue. Our client is now safe, secure and thriving.
Supply Chain Issues
In June of 2020, one of our clients (located in Alaska) had their dishwasher quit working. Our client’s mother and caretaker, ordered a dishwasher from a well-known, big-box store. Since most of the manufacturers were closed during the pandemic, there were no dishwashers available in Alaska at the time. Therefore, product sourcing originated in the lower 48 states. After the order was placed, the box store stated that it could not guarantee delivery to Alaska. Knowing our client was in need, our team arranged to have the dishwasher barged from Seattle to Anchorage. After many phone calls between our office, the big-box store, the client’s mother and the Seattle dock, we successfully had it delivered on September 21, 2020.
Losing a loved one is a tragedy all on its own. Dealing with itemizing personal property, closing accounts, managing complex assets and/or multiple properties often puts a strain on relationships and the psyche. When Northwest Trustee has been named in an estate plan as a fiduciary, our goal is to reduce the stress and take the burden off of loved ones and beneficiaries.
Beyond Personal Property
In 2022, one of our clients, who lived in Southern Oregon, passed away. Her attorney relayed the news to us, and we immediately went to work. Due to previous conversations with the client, we knew she had pets in her home (which she loved dearly). We accessed the property within hours of receiving appointment to ensure her pets were safe and cared for and that her personal property was secured. After discussing re-homing with the beneficiaries of the estate, we realized none of them were able to adopt the animals. We then reached out to local organizations and were able to find loving homes for each of our client's pets.
Throughout our administration, we went through the home and found jewelry and art collections which required appraisal. We utilized one of our many professional networks to hire an experienced appraiser to value the assets. Our team then sold the property, liquidated accounts, paid final taxes and distributed the remainder of the estate to the client’s beneficiaries.
Your Trust is our Business®. . . Anywhere
It is our compassionate, highly-qualified team members who are committed to providing the high-quality services we have been known for—for over 30 years. Each relationship team takes an extraordinary amount of pride in the thought and care they pour into every individual. Our clients are far more than just an account or number to us. Our teams will travel, ask a colleague in the area to step-in, hire professionals where needed, and work collaboratively with friends and family members to get the job done well. Location is only one piece of the larger puzzle our teams put together to better serve their clients.
Published October, 2023