Our mission at MSU Fiduciary Partners is to provide our clients with the highest level of service and support possible. We work diligently to ensure that our clients’ wishes are carried out according to their trust or estate plan, and we make decisions in their best interests always.
Mark S. Unger
Mark S. Unger established his private fiduciary practice in 2017 after assuming the trustee’s role in a substantial family trust. Throughout that administration, Mark worked with the family lawyers, CPAs, banks, and securities companies to liquidate the family trust into four sub-trusts for the family beneficiaries. The professionals involved lauded Mark’s work, and the family members were relieved that Mark took on the full responsibility of the trustee. Mark and his team oversee more than 50 trusts ranging in value from $750,000 to $100,000,000. He is also the trustee on several ILITs, has served as the Administrator/Special Administrator in several probates, the Practice Administrator for a law firm closing its practice, the asset manager for the family’s investment portfolio during the dissolution litigation, and is named successor Trustee in more than a dozen trusts.
Mark brings the same qualities he displayed in that administration to his private fiduciary practice. These are financial expertise, a duty of loyalty to the estate and beneficiaries. timeliness, and complete transparency in communications. He sets himself apart by his unwavering dedication to those principles and ability to work with difficult circumstances. Mark’s educational and business background is the perfect backdrop for a private fiduciary.
As a lawyer in good standing with the California Bar, Mark can recognize the legal issues and pitfalls that most trust administrations will encounter. Having been a business litigation lawyer, he can identify and retain knowledgeable and experienced attorneys and manage their work to keep trust expenses within reason. His experience has taught him that high-quality legal advice prior to the problem is, in the long run, far more practical and frugal than addressing the issue after the fact, which can typically incur a far more significant legal expense.
As a former real estate executive who managed more than $400 M of assets, Mark is well able to assume the portfolio management of trust real estate, ensuring experts properly manage those assets in the field. Having had the responsibility of Portfolio Manager overseeing P&L, supervision of asset management and leasing, planning of capital expenditures and operational budget, and financial analysis of refinancings and sales, he comes prepared to serve as the trustee of any estate that includes real estate as one of its assets.
Mark’s nearly twenty years in running a $400M business provided him the opportunity to manage accounting and finance, human resources, legal, banking, and risk management. Many of those same issues are present in most of todays trusts and estates. Having the ability to recognize and address those issues is key to a successful trust and estate administration.
Finally and most importantly, Mark can work with all the divergent interests that trusts often present. His cool, calm, and collected method of working with and managing people serves his clients well under challenging scenarios. Having run through this process with his own family trust, Mark has firsthand knowledge and experience of all the emotions that may be present in any trust situation. Unless those emotions and psychological concerns are recognized, appreciated, analyzed, and addressed, the successful financial management of the trust is impossible.
Choosing a private fiduciary will be one of your most important life decisions. Do your homework and choose someone with the requisite skills, someone you have complete confidence in, and someone who gives you a high degree of comfort.
Private Professional Fiduciary History 2017 – Present
California Bar Association (Member of the Trusts and Estates Section)
San Francisco Bar Association
Contra Costa County Bar Association
PFAC (Professional Fiduciary Association of California)
2020/2022 Vice President/President East Bay Chapter
EBTEL (East Bay Trust and Estate Lawyers)
San Francisco Estate Planning Council
Mt. Diablo Estate Planning Council
Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council
2020/2022 Vice President/President
University of California, Berkeley
– Bachelor of Science
– Haas School of Business
University of San Francisco School of Law
– Juris Doctor
– California Supreme Court Law Clerk to Justice Frank Newman
– Admitted to California State Bar
– California Bar No. 88215
Cal State University, Fullerton
– Professional Fiduciary Management Program
During an almost 40-year professional life, Mark has gained experience and expertise as a lawyer, real estate executive, and business executive that provide the perfect background for his undertaking of the private professional fiduciary role. As a business litigation attorney at Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, Mark focused on a wide variety of matters, including tax and banking cases involving some of the country ‘s largest financial institutions and their bonding company, Underwriters at Lloyds. As the Vice President of Portfolio Management at Hare Brewer & Kelley, Mark was responsible for restructuring the debt and equity of several limited partnerships and the oversight and management of $140M of real estate holdings, including office buildings, R&D/Warehouse, retail, and apartments. As the President of DP Staff, Mark grew a temporary staffing company’s annual revenues from $4M to $41 M while overseeing a staff of 115 employees and an annual temporary pool of approximately 4,300 employees.
San Mateo County Superior Court
– Law Clerk, Law & Motion Calendar
Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold
– Associate Attorney, Business Litigation
Smith Unger Financial
– Registered Investment Advisor and a N.A.S.D. Broker-Dealer
– Series 7 and 49 Licenses
Partin-Bennett Financial Group
– President, Bennett Securities Corp.
– Vice President Bennett Capital Co.
General Western Securities Company
Hare Brewer & Kelley
– Vice President, Portfolio Manager
Private Professional Fiduciary History
In 2016, Mark’s father-in-law passed away, leaving a rather sizeable trust in which his wife and her sister were named co-trustees. It was decided by the family that Mark was better suited to handle the duties and responsibilities of trustee, so Mark took over the administration of the trust. In less than one year, working in tandem with counsel, Mark marshaled all of the trust assets, including bank accounts, securities accounts, I Bond accounts held at the Federal Reserve, and real estate partnership interests. He readied the family home for sale and sold it. He worked with the CPAs to file final, personal, and trust tax returns.
Following the completion of the trust termination administration, the trust attorneys applauded Mark’s work and suggested that he become a private professional fiduciary. Mark did just that and established his practice in 2017.
Since establishing his practice in 2017, the business has seen tremendous growth so that today, MSU Fiduciary Partners employs six other professionals who work together in managing 50+ trusted estates with a combined value of more than $260M.