Florida Trustee’s Duty to Inform
By: Rebecca Nichols, Esq.
November 14, 2022
As discussed in prior blog posts, trustees in Florida are responsible for carrying out their role as trustee in accordance with the terms of the trust agreement, as well as certain duties set forth under Florida’s Trust Code. One key duty owed under Florida’s Trust Code is the Duty to Inform.
Under FL Stat. § 736.0813, the trustee of a trust is required to keep qualified beneficiaries reasonably informed of the trust and its administration.
The trustee is required to provide notice to the qualified beneficiaries of his or her acceptance of the role as trustee within sixty (60) days of said acceptance. This initial notice shall also advise the beneficiaries of the trustee’s complete name and address. This notice further advises the beneficiaries that the fiduciary attorney-client privilege applies between the trustee and the attorneys employed by the trustee.
See FL Stat. § 736.0813(1)(a).
Additionally, within sixty (60) days of the trustee learning that a trust became irrevocable or that a formerly revocable trust has become irrevocable by the death or incapacity of the settlor or grantor, the trustee is required to provide notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the trust’s existence. The trustee shall also provide notice as to the identity of the settlor/grantor or settlors/grantors of the trust. Further, the trustee shall notify qualified beneficiaries of their right to request a copy of the trust document and any amendments thereto. Moreover, the trustee shall notify beneficiaries of their right to an accounting, at least annually.
See FL Stat. § 736.0813(1)(b).
Part of the trustee’s duty to inform is the requirement to provide qualified beneficiaries with a complete copy of the trust agreement, along with any amendments thereto, upon the receipt of a reasonable request.
See FL Stat. § 736.0813(1)(c).
Another part of the trustee’s duty to inform is the requirement to provide qualified beneficiaries with relevant information concerning the assets and liabilities of the trust, along with other particulars relating to the administration of the trust.
See FL. Stat. § 736.0813(1)(e).
One key element in keeping beneficiaries adequately informed is providing them with a fiduciary accounting. Because of how important fiduciary accountings are, we will cover this duty in a following blog post.
Serving in the role of trustee can be incredibly challenging and complex, especially for an individual grieving the loss of a loved one or navigating difficult family dynamics. Under the terms of most trust agreements, trustees are entitled to hire attorneys to assist with the administration of the trust and the legal fees are paid for out of the trust assets, not the trustee’s personal account. 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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