By definition, a fiduciary is any legal professional who has a legal or ethical responsibility to another individual or group of people. While fiduciaries can certainly be attorneys or accountants, they an also be people trusted to execute the terms of a will, a trustee or anyone managing the assets of another party.
Because the main duty of a fiduciary is to be a trustworthy, reliable source of legal guardianship, a fiduciary who doesn’t fulfill his or her fiduciary responsibilities has little to no credibility.
If you are a fiduciary who has recently been accused of failing to meet your responsibilities — or if you know a fiduciary going through this situation — it’s important to understand how to resolve breach of fiduciary disputes with the help of an effective neutral mediator like a qualified fiduciary attorney. Here are three things you should know about fiduciary responsibility:
Breach of fiduciary duties can happen due to a number of causes
There is a wide variety of reasons why a fiduciary can breach his or her fiduciary responsibility. These can include favoring one beneficiary over another, stealing from an estate, failing to keep accurate records or using an estate’s funds and assets to irresponsibly invest. All these things breach fiduciary responsibility, which is to be impartial, loyal and prudent to their clients.
Breach of fiduciary duty isn’t always intentional
It’s possible for a fiduciary to breach his or her duties without intending to do so. If a fiduciary doesn’t take the needed preventive cautions to avoid making a mistake, this is a breach of fiduciary responsibility. The fiduciary can’t say he or she “didn’t know” or “wasn’t aware” as a defense.
Fiduciaries who breach their duties can be held personally liable
Making mistakes as a fiduciary can be dangerous — in fact, it can actually result in a personal liability. A fiduciary can be sued and even charged for criminal offenses if found to have broken fiduciary responsibility.
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