What are “fiduciary duties”?

Certain positions that individuals hold cause them to have a responsibility to others to act in their best interests, to look out for their financial well-being, and to otherwise deal fairly with them.  These responsibilities are called “fiduciary duties.”

Fiduciary duties can be as a result of a contract between the parties, but often they come with the position that the person holds with respect to another—as the executor of a will, director of a corporation, or trustee over property, to name a few.  In some situations, shareholders of a company owe fiduciary duties to other shareholders, and sometimes employers and employees owe each other fiduciary duties.

Courts require that people with fiduciary duties owe their beneficiaries the utmost good faith, trust, confidence, and candor. For example, a trustee must ensure that assets are invested properly, and directors generally must ensure that they alert the corporations they serve of any potential business opportunities. We described one situation here where an employer breached his fiduciary duties to an employee.

We can help you examine your situation to see who you may owe fiduciary duties to, and what those duties require that you do.  Call us if you want to discuss your position, or if you feel that someone owes you fiduciary duties but has not complied with those obligations.


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Charles Wentworth
Charles Wentworth
Charles Wentworth
Charles is an attorney in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. After graduating from the University of Utah, he clerked for Chief Justice John T. Broderick of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. He then became a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP before opening his own office and partnering with Rick Lofgren. He lives just outside of Chicago, where he participates in community activities, including Boy Scouts and little-league baseball.