Fiduciary Relationship – Significance

While a fiduciary relationship is created under a Power of Attorney, or between a trustee and a beneficiary, certain circumstances may exist between an individual and another which will result in a finding of the existence of a fiduciary relationship without a formal agency.

Relevant factors to consider in determining whether a fiduciary relationship exists are:

  • The degree of kinship between the parties
  • The disparity in age, health, medical condition, education and business experience
  • The extent to which the “servient”, or dependent party, entrusted his business affairs to the “dominant” party, and placed his or her trust and confidence in the “dominant” party.

The existence of a fiduciary relationship is an important factor to be considered in the case of a will contest, because if a fidiciary relationship is found, there is a presumption of undue influence.

A fiduciary relationship  does not result when an adult child cares for an elderly parent, absent other factors.

A sibling relationship does not automatically result in a finding of a fiduciary relationship.

For more information on contesting a will

For more information on undue influence

To contact Christine C. Karr