Florida Trustee’s Duty to Account
By: Rebecca Nichols, Esq.
November 17, 2022
One key element in keeping beneficiaries adequately informed concerning the administration of the trust is providing qualified beneficiaries with an annual fiduciary accounting.
Under Florida’s Trust Code, a trustee of an irrevocable trust is required to provide a trust accounting to each qualified beneficiary. This accounting shall cover from (a) the date of the last accounting or (b) the date on which the trustee became accountable, if no prior accounting was prepared. Each qualified beneficiary is entitled to such an accounting at least annually, upon termination of the trust and/or upon change of the trustee.
See FL Stat. § 736.0813(1)(d).
Annual trust accountings must be presented in a reasonably understandable report which identifies the trust, the trustee preparing the accounting, and the period of time covered by the accounting. These accountings are generally a chronological presentation showing each receipt received, and each disbursement made, by the trustee throughout the accounting period. Because certain beneficiaries’ rights may differ, such as income beneficiaries versus remainder beneficiaries, trust accountings should classify the trust’s receipts and disbursements as either income or principal pursuant to Florida’s Uniform Principal and Income Act under Fla. Stat. Chapter 738.
See FL Stat. § 736.08135.
Preparing a trust accounting in compliance with requirements set forth under Florida’s Trust Code is one of the more important and complex responsibilities of the trustee. Under the terms of most trust agreements, trustees are entitled to hire professionals, such as accountants and attorneys, to assist with the administration of the trust. Fees associated with those professionals are paid for out of the trust assets, not the trustee’s personal account.
If you aren’t well-versed on Florida’s Trust Code or the Uniform Principal and Income Act, consider hiring a team of professionals to guide, represent and protect you. Here at e-Estates and Trusts, PLLC, we have years of experience guiding trustees through the administration process. Don’t go it alone… we welcome you to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced probate and trust administration attorneys.
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