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What is a Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is a person who is appointed by the Court to take care of the needs or property of another person. The Public Fiduciary is court appointed as guardian, conservator or personal representative of estates. The Public Fiduciary is considered the "fiduciary of last resort," meaning they are appointed only when there is no one else willing or able to serve. Fees for services charged by the public fiduciary and their staff must be approved by the court and are paid by the person’s estate. Fees may be delayed, waived, or reduced if the ward's estate has insufficient funds.

Fiduciaries are licensed by the Arizona Supreme Court and regulated by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).

Fiduciaries are not caregivers. A caregiver is someone who provides direct personal care such as assisting in bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, and doing household chores and shopping. Fiduciaries do not provide these services, but may assist with coordination of these services in unique circumstances.

Roles of the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary

A Guardian is appointed by the court for a person who is unable to take care of their personal and medical needs themselves. The need for a Guardian is determined by the court when a person lacks enough understanding to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his or her daily living needs. This usually occurs as a result of physical or mental illness, an accident or dementia. The Public Fiduciary will only serve as Guardian when there are no other alternatives or persons qualified. 

A Conservator is appointed by the Court to manage the financial affairs of someone who is determined by the court to be unable to manage his or her own finances or property. When a person’s assets exceed $10,000 and the Court no longer feels is able to manage their own financial affairs, a Conservatorship may be required. The Public Fiduciary prides itself on serving the indigent population and will defer to private fiduciaries when appropriate. 

A Personal Representative ("executor") is appointed by the court to manage the estate of a person who has died. The Personal Representative is responsible to ensure a deceased person’s estate is protected and administered properly to beneficiaries, lien holders, and heirs. Most beneficiaries, heirs, and lien holders have priority over the Public Fiduciary. The Public Fiduciary will only serve as the last resort.

Burial Assistance Program for more information click here.