Here at The Mottley Law Firm, we regularly counsel clients in situations when a fiduciary is breaching their obligations. The term “fiduciary” basically applies in any situation where trust or confidence is placed by one person in another, such as when, for example, one person places the property in charge of another. The person who has had property placed in their care is considered a fiduciary of the person who entrusted the property to them.
A fiduciary relationship arises in numerous situations under Virginia law, and some of those situations involve family estates, trusts, and powers of attorney. When a fiduciary relationship exists, the fiduciary is required by law to act loyally to the other person or group of persons, to act in good faith, to act in the best interests of the other person, to refrain from creating a conflict of interest between themselves and the person(s) they are supposed to be acting for, and to act with care, competence, and diligence for the other person. For example, an agent (attorney-in-fact) under a power of attorney document is a fiduciary for their principal.
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When a fiduciary fails to live up to these standards, they may be held personally responsible for any damage they have caused to the person to whom they owed fiduciary duties.
When we are asked to provide advice relating to family estate situations, we start by offering an initial consultation for a fixed fee of $500. As part of the initial consultation, you will get up to one hour of our attorney’s time to discuss your situation with you, and you will receive some initial guidance from us as to what Virginia law says about your situation in our opinion. In most cases, this initial consultation results in the matter not proceeding further. But in some cases, legal action is necessary.