Caring Transitions is a company that was born out of a family problem but has now grown to help families and their financial advisors and attorneys deal with transitions in life.

John Buckles, founder of Caring Transitions, says there is a great opportunity for financial advisors and estate planners to add to their services by providing the emotional and logistical resources to help families deal with life changing issues.

"We are the eyes and ears for the financial advisor," Buckles says. "What we do is deal with the things that are not their job, but it improves the job they do for their clients."

Caring Transitions ( started when Buckles elderly parents began to deteriorate. He tried to deal with all the details of transitioning them to a nursing home but finally realized his time would be better spent with them than sorting papers and the other accumulations of a lifetime.

So he created a company to handle these details for others. The situation does not have to be triggered by a move to a nursing home, but often is. It could be a retirement, downsizing to a smaller home, a divorce or an accident.

"The wills and trusts take care of big things, including the titled property, but who takes care of the non-titled property? Who finds out what the parents have accumulated that may be valuable or may have sentimental value?" Buckles asks.

These are the details Caring Transitions takes care of. Caring Transitions has 136 franchises in most states and in Canada.
"It is very draining for the family to deal with these issues," he adds. "We are often brought in at the last minute, but we would like to be involved before there is a triggering event."

The goal of Caring Transitions is to take care of details the way the person would want. If that means selling items, time can be taken to evaluate what is being sold and often the proceeds can be used to pay for needed services. Caring Transitions works with financial planners to determine what the person might own that no one knows about.

One franchise owner had a family that swore nothing was in the attic of their parent's home, which had 15-foot ceilings. It turns out that above those high ceilings was an attic stuffed with valuable heirlooms, which even the family did not know was there, let alone the financial advisor.

Similarly, another Caring Transitions franchiser had a couple that had a hidden cabin in the woods where they had been shipping family furniture and keepsakes for years. The rest of the family did not even know the cabin existed.

"There are 2.5 million estates that have to be settled each year and that number will double by 2030," Buckles says. "The financial advisors and the attorneys deal with the paper work. That is the clinical side of it. Caring Transitions helps with the rest."

-Karen DeMasters