In life, there are certain situations when you lean on a friend whom you trust to help you. The characteristics of that trusted friend may be similar and often closely pairs to the role of a fiduciary agent. In fact, the legal definition of a fiduciary is as follows:
A fiduciary is an entity with the power and the legal obligation to act on behalf of another in situations that require trust, honesty, and loyalty. A fiduciary must also take the utmost care to act in the best interests of the party who has delegated the fiduciary responsibility.
The fiduciary role does go one step further than a simple trusted friend because it holds the highest standard of care. At Kennedy & Ruhsam Law, we proudly and effectively provide the services of fiduciary representation, both in the attorney representation role, but also by stepping into the role of a “Professional Fiduciary.” You will find other fiduciaries who are accountants, attorneys, bankers, business advisors, financial advisors, mortgage brokers and real estate agents. As attorneys, we are bound by ethical standards, including the duty of loyalty and the duty of care, for our clients. These same duties are also held by a Professional Fiduciary.
What is a Professional Fiduciary?
In life, there are instances when you don’t necessarily need an attorney, but you would benefit greatly from having a “Professional Fiduciary” acting on your behalf. At Kennedy & Ruhsam Law, we have experts who often step into and hold the role of a Professional Fiduciary. The role of a Professional Fiduciary agent may include assisting with the collection of non-probate assets, those assets that include a beneficiary designation, that are jointly held, or that hold a transfer on death or payable on death designation. An agent may also assist with the transfer of assets, such as the re-titling of assets, assisting with the funding of trusts, or the filing of tax returns for estates and trusts, or assistance with e-filing services with the court.
Our Professional Fiduciary service offers a valuable and often sought-after role in the legal community. One of the most influential Professional Fiduciary service we offer is the following:
Serving as Personal Representative or Trustee. The role of a Personal Representative or a Trustee is one that holds fiduciary responsibilities and duties. A Personal Representative or Trustee is responsible for settling an estate or trust administration, which includes gathering assets, settling final debts and tax obligations from the estate or trust, and then distributing the remainder of the estate or trust to the designated beneficiaries. If a Personal Representative or Trustee acting in their fiduciary role breaches their fiduciary duty, they will be held financially and civilly liable to the beneficiaries of the estate or trust under Minnesota law. The attorneys who step into the role as Personal Representative, Special Administrator, or Trustee for estate or trust matters are bound by fiduciary duties and guidelines in their role as a Professional Fiduciary, and do so with skill, competency, and proficiency, as they work with opposing counsel and the probate court system for the benefit of the matter.
Oftentimes, clients do not feel comfortable holding the position or role that includes the fiduciary duty, or the legal community is looking for professionals willing to remove their “attorney cap” and step into a Professional Fiduciary role to assist with a matter, such as in an estate or trust administration. Our Professional Fiduciary services are a coveted offer to our community.
When you hire a Professional Fiduciary representative at Kennedy & Ruhsam Law, you will find it to be cost-efficient and will include the highest level of care and support for your legal issue. Our Professional Fiduciary services will put your needs first and foremost. Always remember that a Professional Fiduciary has the duty of loyalty and the duty of care and may not use their position to gain personal advantage, profit, or opportunity. Our firm also incorporates experience, expertise, and respect from and within the legal community in providing the services of the various Professional Fiduciary roles we step into.