Fiduciary duty can be complex to navigate and can open agents up to legal liability if not handled correctly.
Fiduciary duties encompass duties of care, good faith, diligence and honesty. An agent’s fiduciary duty includes properly guiding and advising clients by utilizing their current skills and knowledge to the best of their ability, as well as seeking out new tools and solutions that may better serve their clients. Licensees need to balance the interests of their clients, and the fiduciary duties owed to them, with their own need to fulfill legal and ethical responsibilities.
There are certain topics that agents cannot legally advise clients on. In those instances, agents need to use resources they have available such as their broker, continuing education or suggesting the client contact legal counsel.
One common problem area is the seller’s property disclosure form. Disclosure forms are legal documents, so clients need to fully understand the importance of making thorough and accurate disclosures. And while, as an agent, it might be an instinct to help your client by telling them what to write or directly filling out the form, in doing so you are putting yourself in the position of making a representation and opening yourself up to liability. If a failure to disclose lawsuit occurs, the agent could be subject to liability based on the role they played in making – or not making – those disclosures.
One way for agents to protect themselves against these suits is to distance themselves from the property disclosure form. Sellers Shield helps agents do just that by guiding the seller through the disclosure form process with examples, tips and definitions, as well provide answers to frequently asked questions.
Agents can fulfill their fiduciary duty and still protect themselves from a lawsuit. Agents can be the best possible advocate for their sellers and their business by using Sellers Shield today. Learn more about Sellers Shield.