A fiduciary is a person or organization that has a duty to act on behalf of someone else, putting that person’s needs and interests above their own. A fiduciary relationship requires trust and confidence, and the fiduciary has duties of loyalty, good faith, and fair dealing. This is a stricter standard of conduct than is generally required to participate in the marketplace. In probate law, there are different types of fiduciaries, like personal representatives and trustees who acquire their fiduciary roles upon the passing of the testator (will) or settlor (trustee). Other fiduciaries, like accountants, financial advisors, and health care agents, acquire their obligations prior to an individual’s passing.
A common accusation made against a fiduciary is that he or she is acting in his or her own interests, rather that enforcing the terms of the authority-granting instrument. At Smith Ammons, we have attorneys and staff that have worked effectively in bringing claims on behalf of a beneficiary against a fiduciary, as well as in defense of a fiduciary.