So…Will You Be My Trustee? Do You Want That Responsibility?

Many times trustees come to my office for guidance as to trustee duties. Most times the person appointing them as trustee has died. Sometimes, but not always, the trustee had no idea they were appointed!. Do (or should) they act as trustee?

There is a misconception that if everything is in a living trust all the trustee has to do is distribute the property and that is it… (you know the old adage.. avoid that nasty probate). Well that is not the case. Under Florida Statute Chapter 736 (the “Trust Code”), a trustee has many duties and responsibilities which they have to carry out under Florida Law. The blog does not have enough space to review all of those duties but among those duties is the requirement of an annual accounting (unless the accounting is waived), the responsibility to advise the “qualified” beneficiaries of the trust and most importantly take into consideration and possibly pay the decedent’s creditors and then properly distribute the trust assets. Being a trustee is not a “piece of cake” as many trustees will attest.

ADVICE: If you have been named a trustee or if someone asks if you will be a trustee educate yourself by reading articles on trusteeship or consult an attorney to advise you of your duties. It is best to have knowledge of the risks and rewards of being a trustee BEFORE you accept the position of trustee!


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