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10 Important Legal Rights for “Qualified Beneficiaries” under a Florida Trust

Know your rights.  If you are a qualified beneficiary of a Florida trust you have important legal rights protected by Florida law.

The trustee of an irrevocable trust in Florida is a fiduciary with numerous responsibilities that run like a laser beam to the qualified beneficiaries.  See our 12 Point Summary of Florida Trustee Duties. “Qualified beneficiaries” are generally all beneficiaries who are current beneficiaries, intermediate beneficiaries, and first-line remainder beneficiaries, whether vested or contingent.  See F.S. 736.0103(16)

The Trustee has a core duty to keep the “qualified beneficiaries” of an irrevocable trust reasonably informed of the trust and its administration.  If you are a qualified beneficiary” of an irrevocable Florida trust you have the following “information” rights under F.S. 736.0813:

  1. Within 60 days after acceptance of the trust, the trustee must notify the qualified beneficiaries of the acceptance of the trust and the full name and address of the trustee.
  1. Within 60 days after the date the trustee acquires knowledge of the creation of an irrevocable trust, or the date the trustee acquires knowledge that a formerly revocable trust has become irrevocable, whether by the death of the settlor or otherwise, the trustee must give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the trust’s existence, the identity of the settlor or settlors, the right to request a copy of the trust instrument, and the right to receive trust accounting’s.
  1. Upon reasonable request, the trustee must provide a qualified beneficiary with a complete copy of the trust instrument.
  1. A trustee of an irrevocable trust must provide a very detailed trust accounting to each qualified beneficiary annually and on termination of the trust or on change of the trustee. This accounting must comply with F.S.736.08135, and among many other things, must include compensation paid to the trustee and the trustee’s agents – such as his or her attorney.
  1. The trustee must provide a qualified beneficiary with relevant information about the assets and liabilities of the trust and the particulars relating to administration.

In addition to the duty to the above information rights, the qualified beneficiaries can demand that the Trustee comply with the following:

  1. The trustee has a duty to be impartial if there are two or more beneficiaries, giving due regard to the beneficiaries’ respective interests. F.S. §736.0803
  1. The trustee must invest trust money and trust assets prudently, according to the Florida prudent investor rule. F.S. §736.0804.
  1. The trustee can only incur expenses that are reasonable in relation to the trust property, purposes of the trust, and skills of the trustee. F.S. §736.0804.
  1. The trustee has a duty of loyalty that runs solely to the beneficiaries; the trust must be administered strictly in the best interests of the beneficiaries – not the best interests of the trustee or any individual or entity that is not a beneficiary.  F.S. §736.0802
  1. Finally, the beneficiary has a right to demand that the trustee administer the trust in good faith, in accordance with the trust terms and purposes and the interests of the beneficiaries in accordance with Florida law. F.S. §736.0801.

This Report is only a summary of key rights qualified beneficiaries have under Florida law.  It is not a complete list of rights.   For more information, contact Phil Rarick, Miami trust attorney, at (305) 556-5209 or info@raricklaw.com.

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced Miami trust attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

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