A fiduciary is any person who is acting in a position of trust or confidence on behalf of another person.
There are a number of different fiduciary duties, and the duty depends on what particular capacity you are acting in. A fiduciary can be the trustee of a Trust, a Personal Representative, an Executor of a Will, an agent named in a Durable Power of Attorney, or a person who’s been named as Patient Advocate under a Patient Advocate Designation. Each particular type of fiduciary is going to have different types of duties. Generally speaking, the fiduciary’s duties are to act in the best interests of the person they are acting for.
Trustees are fiduciaries. A trustee looks first to their duties as they are defined in the Will or the Trust. If they are not fully defined in the Will or Trust, then they look to the Michigan Trust Code because it spells out the duties of a trustee to a Trust.
The first thing you would ask the person is whether or not they are willing to act as fiduciary for you. Fiduciaries always have the ability to decline their appointment. Make sure that the person is willing to act in the capacity that you are asking them to act, and make sure that they are a trustworthy person. They’ve got to put the interests of the person they are acting for over their own. The main traits that you want to look for in a fiduciary are trustworthiness, reliability and willingness to act.
Under Michigan law, both a trustee and a personal representative under the Will are entitled to reasonable compensation. There is no definition of what reasonable compensation is, but generally speaking, you can look at the particular duty that the fiduciary is doing and try to figure out, in the open market, what a person would receive for that particular duty. Then, you can figure out the reasonable rate. They are also entitled to be repaid for any out of pocket expenses for postage, mileage, and any other cost that they have in doing your duties.
Having a backup fiduciary is a very good idea. You never know when changed circumstances might cause your primary fiduciary to decline the appointment. If you don’t choose a backup, then what you are doing is leaving it up to the discretion of a probate judge to select the fiduciary that they believe is competent and able to act. Choosing your own backup fiduciary keeps it under your control.
A patient advocate named in a Living Will (which actually is referred to as a Patient Advocate Designation in Michigan), means that when the person who has appointed you is no longer able to make their own medical decisions, you are responsible for making those medical decisions for them. You are going to have to make decisions like selecting the doctors, selecting types of treatment, selecting the facility where the patient will be treated, and even whether to withhold or withdraw medical treatment that could allow the patient to die. These are decisions that ought to be discussed, in great detail, ahead of time with the person who is appointing you as patient advocate, so that you know exactly what kind of medical treatment they would want when this situation arises.
For more information on Role of Fiduciary in the State of Michigan, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 869-0030 today.