Fiduciary duties refer to the highest standard of care imposed by law or equity on individuals who manage the assets or interests of others. These duties are entrusted to individuals or entities (fiduciaries) who have a relationship of trust and responsibility with the people whose interests they represent (beneficiaries or principals).

The main components of fiduciary duties are as follows:

Duty of Loyalty: This duty requires the fiduciary to act in the best interests of the beneficiary, avoiding conflicts of interest and not profiting from the fiduciary position without informed consent from the principal. Fiduciaries must not exploit their position for personal gain at the expense of the beneficiary.

Duty of Care: This duty obligates fiduciaries to act with a high level of competence and diligence when managing another’s interests. This includes making informed decisions based on adequate information and taking necessary steps to ensure decisions are made using sound judgment.

Duty of Good Faith: Often considered part of the duty of loyalty, this duty requires fiduciaries to act honestly and in good faith to not deceive or defraud the beneficiary.

Duty to Act in Accordance with the Trust: For fiduciaries such as trustees, this duty involves adhering strictly to the terms of the trust or legal agreement under which they are operating.

Fiduciary duties are commonly associated with certain roles, such as:

  • Trustees of a trust
  • Directors and officers of corporations
  • Executors and administrators of estates
  • Financial advisors
  • Attorneys acting for clients
  • Partners in a partnership
  • Agents acting for principals in various capacities

Violations of fiduciary duties can lead to legal actions, and fiduciaries may be held personally liable for losses incurred due to breaches of their duties. The core idea behind imposing fiduciary duties is to foster trust and good governance in relationships where one party relies on the other to manage their interests effectively and ethically.