A Florida trust is a useful legal tool that holds ownership of assets on behalf of the trust creator (referred to as trustor or settlor). Upon the trustor’s death, the assets held in the trust are distributed directly to the beneficiaries, waiving the need for probate administration.
One of the main steps involved in the process is filing a notice of trust upon the trustor’s passing. In this article, you will find out how to file a notice of trust in Florida.
Notice of Trust in Florida – Understanding the Concept
A notice of trust is a legal record used to alert the court that the trustor’s of a Florida trust has passed away, also providing the contact information of the person designated as the trust’s trustee.
The trustee is the person who holds nominal ownership of the assets held in trust on the trustor’s behalf. Accordingly, the trustee owes the beneficiaries of the trust a fiduciary duty, acting only in the best interest of the property held in trust and its beneficiaries.
When the trustor of a Florida trust dies, the trustee must file a notice of trust as part of his/her administrative duties.
How Do I File a Notice of Trust in Florida? – As Provided by Law
Florida statutory rules outline specific provisions regarding the filing and submitting of notice of trust within state jurisdiction.
Florida Statutes §736.05055 (1) establish that “upon the death of a settlor of a trust (…), the trustee must file a notice of trust with the court of the county of the settlor’s domicile and the court having jurisdiction of the settlor’s estate.”
The document must contain specific information, including “the name of the settlor, the settlor’s date of death, the title of the trust, if any, the date of the trust, and the name and address of the trustee.” (Fla. Stat. §736.05055 (2))
Hence, “if the settlor’s probate proceeding has been commenced, the clerk shall notify the trustee in writing of the date of the commencement of the probate proceeding and the file number.”
It is essential to remember that no notice of trust should disclose any of the private details involved in the arrangement, such as valuing the property held in trust, identifying beneficiaries, or providing an inventory of the trust assets.
Considering the notice is filed with the local Clerk of Court, creditors who may have claims against the decedent’s estate will need to check the court docket to detect the notice. If a creditor does not file within two years after the notice of trust is filed, any claims against the trust filed after this period are barred.
Is the Trust Liable for Any Obligations Involved in Administration of a Deceased Trustor’s Estate?
Florida Statutes 733.707 (3) expressly state that “any portion of a trust with respect to which a decedent who is the grantor has at the decedent’s death a right of revocation, (…) is liable for the expenses of the administration and obligations of the decedent’s estate to the extent the decedent’s estate is insufficient to pay them.”
Therefore, if the trustor of a Florida trust dies leaving assets subject to probate not sufficient to pay for any personal debts, trust property may be used to pay them.