Trusts are valuable estate planning tools that permit Florida residents to avoid probate, ensure seamless distribution of their assets upon death, and protect the interests of designated beneficiaries.
To protect the rights of all the parties involved in trust arrangements and ensure full legal compliance, the state of Florida enacted the Florida Trust Code in 2006. Since its effective date on July 1, 2007, these statutory rules are applied to all trusts formed within state jurisdiction.
Keep reading to find out the key elements involved in the Florida Trust Code.
What is The Florida Trust Code? – An Introduction
The Florida Trust Code refers to Chapter 736 of the Florida Statutes. Florida Statutes §736.0102 (1) define that “this code applies to express trusts, charitable or noncharitable, and trusts created pursuant to a law, judgment, or decree that requires the trust to be administered in the manner of an express trust.”
Florida Statutes §736.0102 (2) specifies that the Florida Trust Code does not apply to:
- Constructive or resulting trusts
- Custodial arrangements pursuant to the Florida Uniform Transfers to Minors Act
- Business trusts providing for certificates to be issued to beneficiaries
- Common trust funds
- Trusts created by the form of the account or by the deposit agreement at a financial institution
- Voting trusts
- Security arrangements
- Liquidation trusts
- Trusts for the primary purpose of paying debts, dividends, interest, salaries, wages, profits, pensions, or employee benefits of any kind, and
- Any arrangement under which a person is nominee or escrowee for another
What is The Florida Trust Code? – In Detail
Divided into 15 distinct parts organized by subject area, the Florida Trust Code governs all legal matters involved in the creation, execution, modification, and termination of trusts.
The first part of the Code provides the general provisions and definitions of Florida trust law, including:
- The default and mandatory rules associated with trusts
- The common law of trusts
- The principles of equity involved in this type of legal arrangement
- The trust’s principal place of administration
- Non-judicial settlement agreements involving trusts
- The qualification of foreign trustees
From Part II to Part V, the Code specifies all the procedures involved in the creation, validity, modification, and termination of Florida trusts. These provisions include:
- Judicial proceedings involving trust (e.g., court jurisdiction over trustee and beneficiary, trust contests, etc.)
- Creditors’ claims associated with trusts
- Spendthrift and discretionary trusts
Part VI provides the legal foundation for revocable trusts while Part VII and VIII encompass all the duties and powers of Florida trustees. The Code verses about trust investments in Part IX, detailing all the liabilities involved in the trustee’s role and the rights of the parties dealing with the trustee in Part X.
The five subsequent parts of the Code focus on detailed aspects of specific subjects, such as:
- Rules of construction associated with trusts (Part XI)
- Trusts for charitable purposes (Part XII)
- Electronic records and signatures (Part XIII)
- Severability clauses (Part XIII)
- The Code’s application to existing arrangements (Part XIII)
Part XIV of the Code includes the Florida Uniform Directed Trust Act, a collection of statutory rules enacted to address the rise of directed trusts.
The last part of the Code (Part XV) is the Community Property Trust Act, which went into effect July 1, 2021. Florida is not a community property state. Hence, this Act addresses trusts created by married couples to enjoy the same benefits as spouses in community property states.
Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
It is quite difficult to understand the Florida Trust Code without proper legal guidance. Therefore, call Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.