About Us

Our experience, professionalism and compassion make us ideally suited to serve your needs.

Like you, we have had to care for our loved ones and take on the responsibilities of managing their needs and finances. We know how time-consuming it is and how much energy it takes. We understand that it is very difficult and often complicated. We appreciate that it may require specialized training and experience. We want to relieve you of that burden and take on the responsibility from you. We will act on behalf of your loved one as if they were a member of our own families. So that you feel comfortable letting us help you and your family, we believe that it is important for you to know who we are, as professionals and as people. Please continue reading for our stories.

Kristen Marquis Fritz, Esq., CLPF, NCG (She/Her/Hers)

Born in 1977 (so you can do the math), Kristen grew up in the Boston area, the oldest (and boldest) of three children, surrounded by a large extended family. Kristen became an advocate at an early age: she would persuade her primary school teachers to let the class have extra recess time, demand that the junior high boys and girls should be able to play football, and motivate her high school peers on the importance of community service. In college, Kristen became an advocate for victims of domestic violence and provided training to ER doctors and nurses on identifying victimization and offering services to patients. In graduate school, Kristen began working with members of the homeless community, which she continues to this day through the non-profit Think Dignity in San Diego. Specifically, she works with its Basic Dignity Coalition to ensure that people living on the streets are treated with dignity and respect, and that they are not denied their legal rights.

When she became an attorney, Kristen’s practice was focused on helping people to exercise their rights against large companies who had taken advantage of them, or injured them physically or financially, whether it be an employer, insurance company, product manufacturer, or service provider. Kristen has thus spent her life being an advocate for others, ensuring their needs were met, and showing care and compassion at all times and to all people. Even before she became a Professional Fiduciary, Kristen was performing the work of one.

In 2006, Kristen’s elderly great Aunt, who lived in San Diego, suffered a debilitating stroke, losing her ability to walk. She also began experiencing the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease. At the time, all of the family lived on the East Coast and it was very difficult for them to manage her medical treatment, identify caregivers and suitable living arrangements, coordinate her care, and handle her financial and estate matters (which included numerous investments and a Trust) from so far away. Although they considered moving her to be with them, they did not want to take her out of San Diego where she had many friends and was very involved with her community, her church, and numerous charities. So, with much difficulty, and relying on her elderly friends for help, Kristen and her family managed everything from afar. A few years later, Kristen’s 57-year-old father suffered a large stroke. Kristen was responsible for not only coordinating and advocating for his care, assisting with his rehabilitation, and adapting his home but, also, with addressing the family’s financial needs, as he would no longer be able to work. Although distance was not an issue, she had to balance her commitment to his needs along with her busy law practice and other responsibilities.

In 2010, Kristen moved to California and took over her great Aunt’s care coordination and management of her Trust and Estate for the remainder of her life. Shortly after her Aunt’s passing, one of her friends—who had been helping with her Aunt’s affairs for many years but had no family of her own—began to decline. She could no longer drive, care for her family home, was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was not eating well, had difficulty remembering appointments, and could not manage her financial affairs. Since that time, Kristen has helped her with her finances, her Trust and Estate matters, finding appropriate living arrangements (more than once as her health has declined), managing her private care staff, ensuring she receives appropriate medical care, and ensuring that she is able to socialize, do things that she enjoys, and generally lives a full and happy life.

In addition to her life experiences, Kristen has substantial education and training that qualify her to act as a Licensed Professional Fiduciary and National Certified Guardian. Importantly, her training as an attorney provides an understanding of the legal issues underlying her work as a Professional Fiduciary and the needs of her clients and their families. Indeed, although it is not required for licensed attorneys to obtain any additional licensing or education for fiduciaries, Kristen has also obtained a License as a Professional Fiduciary and completed both a Certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management for Trustees and a Certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management for Conservators through the Fiduciary Management program at California State University – Fullerton.

Further, Kristen has an extensive background in psychology and working with individuals with mental health issues. Before college Kristen worked with mentally disabled and delayed children in early intervention programs and in group homes with mentally disabled adults and seniors. In addition, the focus of her graduate studies in psychology was adult psychopathologies. This background makes her well-suited to address mental health and disability when those matters are the cause of the need for a professional fiduciary and/or a factor contributing to the needs of her clients.

Kristen’s background, training, and experience has not only provided her with the understanding of what is needed to address various issues and the tools to address those needs but, also, an appreciation of the difficulties that come along with a loved one needing assistance. She also understands family dynamics, the complexities of managing another person’s affairs, and how difficult it can be to trust someone else to handle a loved one’s care and finances. Kristen looks forward to working with you and your family to establish trust, and to ensure that you know that your loved one’s needs will be taken care of with the same attention, care, and compassion that she gives to her own family members.

Experience and Education:
  • Licensed Professional Fiduciary (California License # 1032)
  • National Certified Guardian
  • Licensed to practice law in California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas (Inactive)
  • More than 18 years practicing law in various jurisdictions across the country
  • California State University, Fullerton – Certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management for Trustees and Certificate in Professional Fiduciary Management for Conservators
  • Northeastern University School of Law – Juris Doctorate
  • Boston University – Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), summa cum laude; with honors
  • Boston University – Paralegal Certificate

John L. Smaha, Esq. (He/Him/His)

John has practiced law for more than thirty five years, largely helping families and businesses with their legal problems. In that time, has drafted hundreds of estate planning documents, including innumerable Wills and Trusts. John has also acted as a Trustee for numerous Estates from small to very large. In addition, John has both sued and represented trustees, allowing him to be intimately familiar with the duties and obligations that come with the fiduciary role. Because of his considerable experience, John understands the needs of individuals, and the unique dynamics of working with families, and he brings this perspective to Professional Fiduciaries of San Diego, Inc.

Education and Experience
  • Graduate, University of San Diego, Juris Doctor – 1980
  • BA Political Science, University of Redlands, 1977; Minor in Sociology
  • Member, University of San Diego Law Review
  • Law Clerk San Diego Bankruptcy Court for the Honorable Judge Herbert Katz 1980-1982
  • Law Clerk 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel 1980-1982
  • Admitted to California Bar 1980

Our Staff

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Professional Fiduciaries of San Diego, Inc.
6336 Greenwich Drive, Suite C
San Diego, CA 92122

EMAIL: info@pfosd.com

CALL:(619) 752-3220

FAX: (619) 752-3260

WEB: www.pfosd.com


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