When doing estate planning in New York, you may come across a number of terms and definitions for things that you do not fully understand. This is normal, as most people have no experience with estate planning when they start, and it is to be expected. However, it is also very important to learn as much as you can about this important process so that everything is done correctly.
For example, you should know what a fiduciary is and what he or she can do for you.
On the whole, “fiduciary” is an umbrella term that can be applied to many different people. It simply refers to a person who is working to do things that are best for you, regardless of his or her own interests, because you have hired them to do so. They strive to meet your goals, ignoring any interest that they may have.
A few examples of people who can be fiduciaries include the following:
— The executor of your will, also known as a personal representative.
— A financial adviser who is helping you set up your funds.
— A banker.
— An accountant.
— An attorney.
This is simply an example and not a comprehensive list. The idea is that you can put people in power to help you make decisions or to make the decisions on your behalf. You may need someone to help with medical decisions that you can no longer make due to your condition, for example, or someone to take care of the estate after you pass away. When you give someone this power, he or she becomes a fiduciary.
Source: About.com, “What is a Fiduciary?” Julie Garber, Nov. 17, 2014