Florida Trust Accounting Attorneys
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A trustee is a person who stands in a fiduciary or confidential relation to another individual who has legal title to property held in a trust. The trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiary of the trust. For example, if a decedent created a revocable trust to own assets and provides by the terms of the trust that upon death the trustee will be in charge of managing the trust property for the beneficiary.
The trustee is the legal owner of the trust property, while the beneficiary is the beneficial owner. The trustee's fiduciary duty is merely holding the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiary. Although one of the most fundamental duties owed by a trustee to a qualified beneficiary is the duty to inform and account, trustees often fail to provide adequate information.
What Are the Fiduciary Duties of a Trustee in Florida?
According to the Florida Trust Code, “the trustee shall keep the qualified beneficiaries of the trust reasonably informed of the trust and its administration.” The trustee’s duty to inform and account includes, but is not limited to, providing each qualified beneficiary of an irrevocable trust with a trust accounting from the date on which the trustee became accountable to each qualified beneficiary. This must occur annually and on termination of the trust, or upon change of the trustee.
The Florida Trust Code also states that “trust accounting must be a reasonably understandable report from the date of the last accounting or, if none, from the date on which the trustee became accountable.”
Trust accounting must adequately disclose the following information:
- A statement identifying the trust, the trustee furnishing the accounting, and the time-period covered by the accounting.
- All cash and property transactions and all significant transactions affecting administration during the accounting period, including compensation paid to the trustee and the trustee's agents. Gains and losses realized during the accounting period and all receipts and disbursements must be shown.
- The value of trust assets on hand at the close of the accounting period. For each asset or class of assets reasonably capable of valuation, the accounting shall contain two values: the asset acquisition value or carrying value and the estimated current value. The accounting must identify each known non-contingent liability with an estimated current amount of the liability if known.
- Significant transactions that do not affect the amount for which the trustee is accountable, including name changes in investment holdings, adjustments to carrying value, a change of custodial institutions, and stock splits.
- The allocation of receipts, disbursements, accruals, or allowances between income and principal if the allocation affects the interest of any beneficiary of the trust.
A trustee who is not adequately informing and accounting to a beneficiary is said to be in “breach of trust” and can be compelled by the courts to provide information and accountings to a qualified beneficiary.
Let Our Trust Accounting Attorneys Review Your Case Today
If you are a trustee or beneficiary with a trust accounting matter in Florida, then please reach out to our firm so we can discuss all of your options under the law. We have a stellar reputation for providing compassionate legal counsel and for being fierce legal advocates in the courtroom. We have been serving clients of all backgrounds since 2002, and we are ready to lend our breadth of experience to help you pursue your case goals.
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