What is A Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is someone entrusted with the medical and personal care of another person, or responsible for the management of another person's assets. The relationship a fiduciary has with his or her client is special, and is based on trust and confidence. A fiduciary must take care to always keep the best interest of his or her client in mind when making decisions that affect the client's medical, personal, or financial needs.

A fiduciary can fulfill many different needs for a client. A few of the more common names for a fiduciary are Guardian, Conservator, Trustee, Power of Attorney Agent, and Personal Representative. The medical and personal needs of an individual are managed by Guardians or health care Power of Attorney Agents. Conservators, Trustees, and financial Power of Attorney Agents are responsible for the care and management of an individual's financial assets during the individual's lifetime. A Trustee or Personal Representative administers the financial estate of someone who has died, in accordance with the deceased individual's estate planning documents and/or Arizona law.

Estate planning documents (Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney) typically name who is to serve as a fiduciary when the need arises. However, court proceedings are required to legally recognize a fiduciary's authority as a Guardian, Conservator, and Personal Representative. When considering the fiduciary to be named in your Last Will and Testament, Trust Agreement, or Power of Attorney documents, it is important to carefully interview and select a person that is the right fit for you and your family.

While entrusting a family member with your health care and financial management needs can be comforting, it is not always possible for a family member to serve as a fiduciary. There may be disagreements within the family or there may not be a family member capable of helping with your needs. Sometimes, parents do not want one child to have authority over other children, in the hopes of preserving healthy family relationships. This is where a professional fiduciary can be beneficial to you and your family.