Fiduciary duty

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A fiduciary duty arises from a relationship that is "'something approximating business agency, professional relationship, or family tie impelling or inducing the trusting party to relax the care and vigilance he would ordinarily exercise.'"[1]

The relationships between trustee and cestui, executor or administrator and creditors, next of kin or legatees, guardian and ward, principal and agent, attorney and client, corporate director and corporation, etc., can all be called "fiduciary" relationships.

Many states, including New Jersey, have enacted the Uniform Fiduciaries Act.[2] Whether a fiduciary or confidential relation exists is a question of the finder of fact, such as a jury, unless the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to support such a finding.

Some courts distinguish between a fiduciary and confidential relationship. There is no uniform practice among the courts in their use of the phrases "fiduciary relation" and "confidential relation." In many decisions the words are used as synonyms, but not always.


  1. In re McDonnell's Estate, 65 Ariz. 248, 252-53, 179 P.2d 238, 241 (1947) (quoting 37 C.J.S. Fraud, § 2(2), pp. 213-14).
  2. N.J.S. 3A:41-4, 6, 7 and 9.