Fiduciary Relationships – one person is under a duty to act with a high degree of care for the benefit of another(s) on matters within the scope of the relationship

fiduciary relationship:

1. A relationship wherein one person is under a duty to act for the benefit of another on matters within the scope of the relationship, which requires an unusually high degree of care.  Fiduciary relationships – such as trustee beneficiary, guardian-ward, principal-agent, & attorney-client – require an unusually high degree of care.  aka fiduciary relation; confidential relationship.  Fiduciary relationships usually arise in one of four situations:

1.) when one person places trust in the faithful integrity of another, who as a result gains superiority or influence over the first.
2.) when on person assumes control and responsibility over another.
3.) when one person has a duty to act for or give advice to another on matters falling within the scope of the relationship.
4.) when there is a specific relationship that has traditionally been recognized as involving fiduciary duties, as with a lawyer & a client or a stockbroker & customer.” [1]

Click for Full Definitions:

Fiduciary – someone owes to another the duties of good faith, loyalty, due care, & disclosure in managing another’s money or property.

Various Types of Fiduciary Relationships:

Guardian/Ward Fiduciary Relationship – one person with legal authority has duty to care for another’s person or property, especially because of the other’s infancy, incapacity, or disability.

Settlor/Trustee/Beneficiary Fiduciary Relationship – one person must act with a high degree of care (fiduciarytrustee) in managing the estate of whoever sets up the trust (Settlor) in a manner that benefits a Beneficiary or Beneficiaries.

Additional types of fiduciary relationships coming soon.

A Prime Example:

     A prime example of both a Guardian/Ward Fiduciary Relationship and a Settlor/Trustee/Beneficiary Fiduciary Relationship is that which the United States Government is charged with upholding on behalf of American Indian Tribes.

Violation of Fiduciary Relationships:

     Although today there is only one form of action (the civil action) historically under the 11 common-law forms of action, the form of action that dealt with  the breach of a fiduciary relationship was called an action of account:

Account – violation of fiduciary relation or to recover certain fixed sum of money for business contract breach.


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[1] Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6


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