You may be involved in relationships or situations in life where you owe someone a duty of care or vice versa. For example, if you are receiving medical care or treatment from a licensed physician, he or she owes you a duty of care and must act in accordance with Georgia laws and accepted standards of the medical industry to fulfill this duty. The legal term for this is “fiduciary duty,” which typically involves numerous responsibilities and obligations. Breaching a fiduciary duty may constitute negligence that is grounds for litigation.
Sadly, many elders in Georgia and throughout the country have fallen victim to breaches of fiduciary duty where an individual or group has cheated them out of large amounts of money. If you suspect that someone is cheating your elderly loved one, it is best to launch a full investigation and to seek additional support to help you resolve the matter and to protect your loved one’s interests.
A fiduciary duty involves an acting agent and a beneficiary
When a fiduciary duty is in effect, there are typically two primary parties involved. One person or group is acting as an agent or representative, and another is the beneficiary or recipient of the service or care given. Examples of relationships involving a fiduciary duty include, as mentioned earlier, a physician and a patient. Additional examples may include an attorney and client, a legal guardian and ward, company executives and shareholders, as well as an estate owner and person to whom one has granted power of attorney.
Besides the general duty of care implied in a fiduciary relationship between a trustee and beneficiary, there is also often a duty of confidentiality, of good faith, of loyalty and disclosure. A breach of duty can cause serious legal problems, especially if the breach is intentional and designed to benefit the agent at the expense of the beneficiary.
Penalties that stem from fiduciary litigation
Breaching a fiduciary duty is often grounds for litigation in the Georgia civil justice system. In some cases, such as if the person who has cheated your loved one out of money is a licensed professional, the court may discredit the individual by revoking his or her license. Penalties for breaching fiduciary duties may also include compensation for damages, including legal fees.
Fiduciary litigation can be complex and stressful. A plaintiff must prove that certain elements existed at the time of the incident. Such elements include evidence that the defendant did, in fact, owe a duty of care and failed to fulfill it. Plaintiffs must also prove that the defendant’s negligence was a direct cause of the damages that occurred. It is helpful to seek guidance from an experienced litigator before pursuing a fiduciary claim in court.