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What is a Fiduciary in Estate Planning and Business Law?

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Fiduciaries in Business Law, Fiduciaries in Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning and business operations, trust is paramount. You need to know the people you’re working with have your best interests at heart. This is where the concept of a fiduciary comes in. But what exactly is a fiduciary, and how does it impact your estate planning and business decisions?

A Duty to Act in Your Best Interest

A fiduciary is a person or entity entrusted with managing another’s assets or acting on their behalf. This fiduciary duty is a legal and ethical obligation that compels the fiduciary to prioritize the interests of the beneficiary (the person or entity they represent) above their own.

In simpler terms, a fiduciary must always act in your best interest, even if it means sacrificing some personal gain. This duty extends to several key areas:

  • Loyalty: The fiduciary cannot put themselves in a position that conflicts with their duties.
  • Care: The fiduciary must manage the assets with reasonable care and prudence.
  • Obedience: The fiduciary must follow all lawful instructions provided by the beneficiary.
  • Impartiality: The fiduciary cannot favor one beneficiary over another.
  • Disclosure: The fiduciary must disclose any potential conflicts of interest and provide complete information about the assets they manage.


Fiduciaries in Estate Planning

Estate planning often involves appointing fiduciaries to handle your affairs after you pass away. Here are some common examples:

  • Executor/Personal Representative: This person is responsible for carrying out the terms of your will, including paying debts, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and overseeing the probate process.
  • Trustee: A trustee manages assets held in a trust according to your wishes.
  • Guardian: A guardian is appointed to care for a minor child or incapacitated adult, making decisions about their well-being and finances.

Choosing the right fiduciaries for your estate plan is crucial. Consider factors like trustworthiness, financial competence, and their willingness to take on the responsibility.


Fiduciaries in Business Law

Fiduciary duties also play a vital role in business law. Here are some key examples:

  • Corporate Directors and Officers: They have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders.
  • Partners in a Partnership: Partners owe each other fiduciary duties, including the duty of loyalty and care.

Understanding these duties helps ensure ethical and responsible management within a business.


Finding the Right Fiduciary Partner

At Windrose Law Center, we understand the importance of fiduciary duties in estate planning and business law. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate these complex legal matters and ensure your best interests are protected.  We can also guide you through the process of selecting qualified and trustworthy fiduciaries for your estate or business.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss how we can help you achieve your estate planning and business goals!