By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Probate Dispute Attorney

Fiduciary relationships include but are not limited to:

1. Holders of a power of attorney,

2. Executors and administrators,

3. Trustees,

4. Partners,

5. Agents, and

6. Spouses.
Informal relationships. These arise when a relationship is a moral, social, domestic or purely personal one and one person trusts in and relies on another. A fiduciary duty based on an informal relationship may arise when a high degree of trust, influence, or confidence has been acquired and abused. It may also arise either as a result of dominance on the part of one or weakness and dependence on the part of another.
The law places a heavy civil duty on fiduciaries. The fiduciary owes the beneficiary the duties of “…loyalty and good faith, integrity of the strictest kind, fair, honest dealing and the duty not to conceal matters which might influence his actions to his principal’s prejudice.” They must place the interest of the beneficiaries above even their own interest. Everything they do with the funds and property in their care must be judge in the light of this question “how does this help the beneficiary?” If there is an action that does not help the beneficiary, the fiduciary is not allowed to do it. The fiduciary is not allowed to use the funds or property to benefit his own interest. If he does, he is guilty of self dealing. A trustee must not have a conflict of interest with the beneficiary or with the use of the funds or property in his control.

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