Statewide Florida Trust Litigation
Since 1993 as Florida Trust litigation attorneys we have been helping resolve Trust disputes among family members. Most disputes can be resolved outside of court using informal or formal mediation. However, if you have a simple or complex claim, we will fight for your best interests in court.
Trusts can be challenged for the same reason wills can be challenged: undue influence, lack of capacity by the grantor, or mistake in signing the Trust. See Probate Litigation. Here are other common Trust Litigation complaints we hear from clients that we have helped resolve:
- EX: $25 Million Trust Litigation Settlement, October, 2021
Rarick, Beskin & Bowden Gold, P.A. reached a successful settlement for a complex, multi-family and multi-generational Trust of over $25 million that had been in litigation for over four years. The Trust had failed to produce income to the beneficiaries for over 45 years. We were able to "unlock" the purely discretionary Trust and compel the Trustees to begin liquidating Trust real estate assets.
- Trust Beneficiary Information Rights: “The Trustee will not tell me anything about the Trust. He won’t even give me a copy of the Trust”:
If you are a qualified beneficiary, you have important information rights, beginning with getting a copy of the Trust and an accounting. For a quick summary of your beneficiary information rights see: 5 Key Rights Of A Florida Trust Beneficiary.
- Trust Termination: “This Trust was created by my grandfather years ago and no longer seems to serve any purpose – can I terminate it?”
Is your Trust an old horse, or as they say in Kentucky, an OTTB - off-the-track thoroughbred. Many Trusts should have been put out to pasture many years ago. These are Trusts that no longer serve the grantor’s original intent but rather may have become a full time employment plan for the Trustee. If your trust has become uneconomical to administer a Florida trust attorney may be able to help you terminate it and distribute the Trust assets to the beneficiaries.
- Trustee Failure to Distribute Income: “The Trustee has not made any distributions for over 3 years. Can he do that?”
We have successfully litigated cases where the Trustee held interests in commercial land and was holding these properties for many years without making any distributions of income to the beneficiaries. It’s a practice called “Land Banking”. We “unlocked the Bank” and compelled the Trustees to begin making distributions of income because Trustee is not a banker but rather a fiduciary with a strict duty to make the trust productive of income for the beneficiaries.
- Bad Faith: “The Trustee tells me she can do whatever she wants because the Trust is a discretionary trust”.
Not so quick. Yes, many trusts are now drafted as purely discretionary Trusts to help protect the Trustee from frivolous claims by beneficiaries, which is a good, because you don’t want the Trustee to waste Trust assets defending meritless claims. However, there are times, when the Trustee takes advantage of this wide discretion and fails to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
Note: In Florida, regardless of what the trust says, the Trustee always has the legal duty to act in good faith . §736.0105(2) If the Trustee fails to do so, he or she can be removed.
If you are a current beneficiary of the Trust you may have Beneficiary Rights to important information about the Trust assets, the value of these assets, Trustee expenses, the distribution plan and other critical information. But note, even if you are not a current beneficiary, but a conditional future beneficiary, you may also have significant information rights in Florida as a “QB” – or Qualified Beneficiary.
Have your beneficiary rights been respected by the Trustee?
See our 9 Point Trust Beneficiary Checklist.