While the trustee has nominal ownership over the assets held in the trust, he/she must uphold a fiduciary duty to the trust maker and the beneficiaries entitled to those assets. Hence, a trustee must keep the trust’s beneficiaries well-informed.
If a trustee fails to keep beneficiaries informed, it may incur hefty financial liability for the trustee. Keep reading to discover how long a trustee has to notify beneficiaries in Florida.
How Long Does a Trustee Have to Notify Beneficiaries in Florida? – The Basics
The duties of a trustee to inform the beneficiaries of the trust include:
- Providing timely and accurate information about the trust and assets held into it
- Providing a report of the trust’s accounting
- Providing a copy of the trust agreement (upon reasonable request)
Accordingly, a trustee must keep the beneficiaries of the trust well-informed regarding the trust administration.
How Long Does a Trustee Have to Notify Beneficiaries in Florida? – As Provided by Law
Florida Statutes §736.0813 provides that “the trustee shall keep the qualified beneficiaries of the trust reasonably informed of the trust and its administration.”
More specifically, Florida Statutes §736.0813 (a) state that “within 60 days after acceptance of the trust, the trustee shall give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the acceptance of the trust, the full name and address of the trustee, and that the fiduciary lawyer-client privilege (…) applies with respect to the trustee and any attorney employed by the trustee.”
State law also has specific rules regarding notice upon the creation of an irrevocable trust. The statutes provide that “within 60 days after the date the trustee acquires knowledge of the creation of an irrevocable trust,” the trustee must notify the qualified beneficiaries of the trust’s existence.
The requirement applies not only to the creation of an irrevocable trust but also to “the date the trustee acquires knowledge that a formerly revocable trust has become irrevocable, whether by the death of the settlor or otherwise.”
As provided by Florida Statutes §736.0813 (b), “the trustee shall give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the trust’s existence,” as well as:
- The identity of the settlor(s)
- The right to request a copy of the trust instrument
- The right to accountings (under the same statute)
- That the fiduciary lawyer-client privilege in Fla. Stat. §90.5021 applies with respect to the trustee and any attorney employed by the trustee
Reasonable Request of Trust Accounting – Understanding the Concept
Generally, the trustee of a trust must provide a full copy of the trust instrument to qualified beneficiaries. Additionally, the trustee must provide a trust accounting upon reasonable request.
If the trustee never provided an accounting, the review must start on the date wherein the trustee became responsible for the trust arrangement. However, if it is not the first accounting, the accounting summary may start from the date of the last accounting.
Ideally, the trustee should provide a yearly trust accounting to beneficiaries. Plus, a final accounting upon the trust’s termination is mandatory. In this regard, the language used in the report should be reasonably simple; thus, every person of average intelligence should understand the document.