What Is a Fiduciary?
A fiduciary must show undivided loyalty to the other person or
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Hi. My name is James Baron. I am a special education law and special needs estate planning attorney located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Today for About.com I am going to discuss fiduciaries.What is a fiduciary? Black's Law Dictionary defines a fiduciary as one who owes to another person duties of good faith, trust, confidence, and candor. Another definition of a fiduciary is one who must exercise a high standard of care in managing another's money or property.A fiduciary must show undivided loyalty to the other person or entity in the fiduciary relationship.There are several types of common fiduciary relationships that exist. For example, a trustee of a trust has a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries of the trust; a guardian has a fiduciary responsibility to a ward or incapacitated person; an agent has a fiduciary responsibility toward the person he or she represents, known as the principal; an attorney has a fiduciary responsibility to a client; a stockbroker has a fiduciary responsibility to a customer; a director of an organization has a fiduciary responsibility to the organization.If a fiduciary takes an action which is not in the best interest of the person he is responsible for, there might be a breach of a fiduciary duty, and the fiduciary himself could be personally liable. For example, if a trustee makes extremely risky investments with trust property, putting the benefits that are supposed to be paid to the beneficiary at risk, the trustee has violated his duty to invest the trust property prudently.Another example is if a member of a corporate board of directors convinces the board to take some action which is beneficial to him personally, but places the corporation at risk, he has probably breached his fiduciary responsibility.The laws of fiduciary relations can get very complicated, and in fact there are entire classes in law school devoted just to fiduciary relationships.Thanks for watching. To learn more about this topic, please visit About.com.