A fiduciary is a person or business that you or a court appoints to manage your money or other assets. Professional fiduciaries who most often serve in this role include attorneys, certified public accountants, and bank trust officers. Make sure that a professional fiduciary has the appropriate credentials and experience to serve in this role. Get references from prior clients, and check the professional’s affiliations with reputable professional organizations. Make sure you understand the cost of using a professional fiduciary before appointing one. A friend or family member you appoint to manage your financial affairs is also a fiduciary.
Select fiduciaries very carefully. Choose a fiduciary you trust, whether a family member, friend, or professional. Confirm that the fiduciary you wish to appoint is willing to honor your preferences about how to use your assets before you appoint the fiduciary in a planning document.
Fraud can be committed by a fiduciary. Fiduciaries have access to your money and other assets. A fiduciary– whether a spouse, child, close friend, or licensed professional – must be absolutely trustworthy. The selection of the wrong fiduciary could result in the loss of your money and property, sale of your home, or loss of financial support for your spouse or children. Change your planning documents if your appointed fiduciary becomes unavailable or if you question your fiduciary’s ability to reliably and honestly manage your affairs.
Adapted from Utah Commission on Aging Financial Security Guide (2007), published by AARP.