In Florida, state law guarantees trust beneficiaries the legal right to access certain information about their interest share in the arrangement. Therefore, if a trustee refuses to provide information, beneficiaries have the right to enforce their rights in court with the help of an expert attorney.
In this article, you will discover the beneficiary rights to information and accounting in a trust arrangement.
Does a Beneficiary Have a Right to See the Trust in Florida? – An Overview
If you are a beneficiary of a trust in Florida, you are entitled to receive adequate information regarding the assets held in the trust, the management of the legal arrangement, any expenses or income generated by the trust, and other similar data.
However, many beneficiaries do not know how to act in a situation when a trustee is not necessarily refusing to provide information but simply lacking knowledge of his/her fiduciary duties.
For instance, many people tend to set up trusts to protect their loved ones, designating a close relative to serve as a trustee (or successor trustee). Nonetheless, if the person designated has no experience in administering assets held in trust, he/she may breach the duty to keep the beneficiaries informed.
In such cases, the situation results in an everlasting circle of issues – the trustee does not know how to fulfill the role properly and the beneficiaries get frustrated with the lack of accounting.
Ultimately, this situation will likely lead to time-consuming and costly disputes in court, as the lack of accounting might lead beneficiaries to imagine the trustee has breached his/her fiduciary duty in administering the trust.
Depending on how far the trustee went on defaulting the duty to provide proper information and comply with the required level of accountability in a trust, beneficiaries may want to challenge the trust’s legal arrangement itself.
In any case, trustees and beneficiaries must rely on the knowledge and experience of a well-versed estate planning attorney to ensure both sides have their duties compliant with Florida law.
Does a Beneficiary Have a Right to See the Trust in Florida? – In-Depth
As provided by the Florida Trust Code, a trustee must always administer a trust in good faith, acting only in the best interest of the beneficiaries and the assets held in the trust.
As part of their fiduciary duty, trustees have the duty of loyalty. Therefore, they must furnish and access information with proper diligence, protecting the privacy of the trust and keeping inventories confidential for unauthorized persons.
When it comes to maintaining the beneficiaries of a trust well-informed, a trustee must work efficiently and diligently to:
- Keep accurate records of the property held in trust
- Provide accurate information and accounting of the property to
- Give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the acceptance of the trust (within 60 days of acceptance)
- Give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the creation of an irrevocable trust or the date a formerly revocable trust has become irrevocable (within 60 days of the event)
- Give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the trust’s existence, as well as properly identify the trustor to beneficiaries that might be unaware (within 60 days of the trust creation)
- Provide a copy of the trust document to any qualified beneficiary who requests it
- Provide each beneficiary with detailed annual accounting and relevant information regarding the trust’s assets and liabilities