Sometimes we need to trust someone else to act on our behalf. Perhaps we need help because of medical conditions, legal situations that require expertise we don’t have, or even someone to represent our estates after our death. Many of us will need a fiduciary to act on our behalf at some point in our lives. It’s helpful, then, to know when and how a fiduciary might be of service.
What Exactly Is A Fiduciary
A fiduciary is a person or business that has the power and obligation to act for another person. With this type of relationship, the fiduciary is expected to be trustworthy, and represent the other person with honesty and good faith.
Different Kinds Of Fiduciaries
Yes. Some fiduciaries are court-appointed. For example, a probate court might appoint a guardian assist with caregiving, a conservator to assist with financial affairs, or an executor to settle an estate. Guardians, conservators, and executors all serve in a fiduciary capacity.
The State of Arizona even licenses fiduciaries who are paid for their services. Licensed Arizona fiduciaries are regulated by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
There’s even something called a Public Fiduciary. Every county board appoints a licensed public fiduciary to serve when no one else is available.
Finally, many fiduciaries serve by agreement, by being named to serve in a legal document. Trustees become fiduciaries because a trustor has signed a trust agreement naming the trustee to manage the trust. Power of attorney documents, which are common estate planning tools, set up a fiduciary relationship by naming an agent to act on behalf of the person signing the power of attorney.
Representative payees receive payments like Social Security on behalf of a ward or incapacitated person, then use that money to care for the ward. People who serve by agreement include trustees, representative payees, and agents under powers of attorney.
What Kind Of Tasks & Responsibilities Does A Fiduciary Do
The fiduciary’s duties will vary depending on the type of fiduciary relationship that has been established. A guardian will care for a person’s needs, while a conservator will handle financial affairs. A trustee, whether an individual or a company that provides fiduciary services, manages the assets of a trust and distributions to beneficiaries.
One thing to note is that a fiduciary does not handle personal services typically performed by a caregiver. The fiduciary could hire someone, though, if the beneficiary needs that type of day-to-day living assistance.
If you’ve consulted with an attorney, you’ve already experienced a fiduciary relationship. Attorneys serve their clients, representing their interests with good faith and honesty.
Keystone Law firm’s staff of attorneys assist people with their legal questions every day. Call us at (480) 418-8448. We offer services for clients throughout Arizona, including Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Apache Junction.