Although Florida trustees owe a fiduciary duty to property held in trust and its designated beneficiaries, they are granted a significant level of authority to attain the trustor’s goal with the creation of the trust.
In this article, you will find out an overview of the powers granted to Florida trustees.
What Powers Do Trustees Have in Florida? – The Essentials
As established by Florida Statutes §736.0815 (1), “a trustee, without authorization by the court, may, except as limited or restricted by this code, exercise powers conferred by the terms of the trust.”
- Still, the same statute adds that a trustee may have, “except as limited by the terms of the trust:
- All powers over the trust property that an unmarried competent owner has over individually owned property
- Any other powers appropriate to achieve the proper investment, management, and distribution of the trust property
- Any other powers conferred by this code”
In any case, “the exercise of a power is subject to the fiduciary duties prescribed by this code.” (Fla. Stat. §736.0815 (2)).
What Powers Do Trustees Have in Florida? – Taking a Closer Look
Trustees have the authority to delegate duties and powers to designated agencies, as “a prudent trustee of comparable skills could properly delegate under the circumstances, including investment functions (…).”
Florida Statutes §736.0807 (1) states that “the trustee shall exercise reasonable care, skill, and caution in:
- Selecting an agent
- Establishing the scope and terms of the delegation, consistent with the purposes and terms of the trust
- Reviewing the agent’s actions periodically, in order to monitor the agent’s performance and compliance with the terms of the delegation”
Collecting Trust Property
With a few statutory exceptions, “a trustee shall take reasonable steps to compel a former trustee or other person to deliver trust property to the trustee and, (…) to redress a breach of trust known to the trustee to have been committed by a former trustee.” (Fla. Stat. §736.0812)
Controlling and Protecting Trust Property
Florida law grants trustees the authority to take any reasonable steps to take control of trust property and protect the interests of the beneficiaries.
Florida Statutes §736.0814 (1) provide that “notwithstanding the breadth of discretion granted to a trustee in the terms of the trust, (…) the trustee shall exercise a discretionary power in good faith and in accordance with the terms and purposes of the trust and the interests of the beneficiaries.”
The same statute adds that “a court shall not determine that a trustee abused its discretion merely because the court would have exercised the discretion in a different manner or would not have exercised the discretion.”
As described by Florida Statutes §736.0816, examples of the discretionary powers granted to trustees include (but are not limited) to:
- “Acquire or sell property, for cash or on credit, at public or private sale
- Exchange, partition, or otherwise change the character of trust property
- Borrow money, with or without security, and mortgage or pledge trust property for a period within or extending beyond the duration of the trust and advance money for the protection of the trust
- Prosecute or defend, including appeals, an action, claim, or judicial proceeding in any jurisdiction to protect trust property or the trustee in the performance of the trustee’s duties
- Sign and deliver contracts and other instruments that are useful to achieve or facilitate the exercise of the trustee’s powers”
Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
Administering a trust is a complex and demanding task. For expert legal guidance, call Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.