Trust Accounting and related Probate (Estate) and Trust Litigation in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County, and surrounding West Florida areas.
One of the most common complaints by trust beneficiaries is that the trustee fails to keep the rest of the beneficiaries reasonably informed regarding trust dealings and administration. This often occurs when a parent trustee passes away, leaving a successor family member in charge who is either unqualified or unwilling to serve as successor trustee, or in the worst circumstances, a family member who uses their appointment to exploit the trust for personal gain. In either event, the primary remedy for beneficiaries is to ask the court to compel an accounting if one has not been voluntary issued, and if malfeasance is present, file an objection to said accounting.
In Florida, trustees are required to issue accountings at least annually, and must also issue an accounting if they are closing the trust or resigning as trustee. These accountings are required unless waived. Once an accounting is received, beneficiaries may only have six months to challenge the contents of the accounting. If an objection is not filed, the beneficiary may have waived any right to challenge the action of the trustee for the time period referenced in the accounting. Trustees are required to inform beneficiaries of this six month limitation, but these disclosures are often in fine print and on the last page of a voluminous amount of documents.
In addition to trust accountings, qualified trust beneficiaries are entitled to receive additional information from trustees, which includes the right to review the trust instrument itself, notice of changes in trusteeship, contact information for the trustee, contact information for any attorneys representing the trustee, relevant information about the current assets and liabilities of the trust, and any other information reasonably necessary for the beneficiary to protect their rights.
If you have questions or concerns regarding any trust accountings, please contact our office, as our attorneys routinely deal with litigated trusts within the courts of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County, and the surrounding West Florida areas.