What is a Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is someone who accepts the responsibility for taking care of the needs or property of another person for the benefit of that person. The fiduciary serves in a role of trust. The person served by a fiduciary places trust in the fiduciary to manage his or her affairs solely for his or her benefit and not for the fiduciary’s benefit. The element of trust becomes crucial when the person receiving services is frail, vulnerable and incapacitated.


“Fiduciary” is a term which covers a variety of roles in which individuals serve in positions of trust. Fiduciaries serve by court-appointment as guardians, conservators or personal representatives of estates. In Arizona, persons serving as fiduciaries for a fee must be licensed by the state. All fiduciaries, whether serving for a fee or not, are governed by state law. State law requires that to become licensed, fiduciaries must meet certain eligibility requirements, take initial training, pass a test, post a bond, furnish a set of fingerprints and pass a criminal background check. Licensing must be renewed every two years.


A private fiduciary is a non-family member who serves professionally, that is, for a fee, and who must be licensed by the state. Private fiduciaries charge hourly rates or fees for specific services. The private fiduciary may be appointed by the court to serve as guardian, conservator or personal representative of an estate when the fiduciary is not a beneficiary of that estate. Private fiduciaries may also serve by agreement as trustees, representative payees or as agents under powers of attorney.


A list of state-licensed fiduciaries may be obtained by writing to: Fiduciary Licensing Program, Arizona Supreme Court, 1501 W. Washington, Suite 104, Phoenix, AZ 85007-3327. The list may also be found at www.supreme.state.as.us/fiduc. The Arizona Attorney General is required by state law to keep a registry of names of persons against whom complaints have been filed accusing them of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable person. Information from this registry is available to the public by writing to: Custodian of the Registry, Elder Affairs Program, Office of the Attorney General, 1275 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

Used with permission by:
A public information booklet by The Arizona Fiduciaries Association, Inc.
An Affiliate of the National Guardianship Association

Third Edition, April 2003
Copyright © 2003

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