What is a fiduciary?

A fiduciary is a person or an entity that is responsible for administering something such as a trust for the benefit of another person.  The people for whose benefit the trust is administered are called beneficiaries.

There are a variety of roles and individuals who are legally fiduciaries, but when it comes to wills and trusts law, when speaking of fiduciaries, people are typically referring to trustees and personal representatives.

Florida law imposes a variety of duties on fiduciaries. The most important of these are the duty of loyalty and the duty of reasonable care. The duty of loyalty requires that a fiduciary manages the trust or estate not for his or her personal benefit, but for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust or estate. Another violation of the duty of loyalty could occur if a trustee favors one beneficiary to the exclusion of others. The duty of reasonable care requires that the fiduciary manage the assets entrusted to him or her as a reasonably prudent person would, not making wildly unsound investment decisions, for example.

Beneficiaries typically trust fiduciaries to administer the trust or estate in accordance with the law, the relevant documents (e.g., the will or trust), and good morals. But this trust is not always well placed and sometimes fiduciaries breach their fiduciary duties. Under Florida law, if a fiduciary has breached his or her fiduciary duties, he or she could potentially be held personally liable for those breaches.

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