The Florida Trust administration process begins upon the incapacitation or death of the settlor (the individual who created the revocable trust). In the case of the death of the settlor, the trust becomes irrevocable and the individual or entity designated to serve as the successor trustee will step into his or her place in administering the trust, as successor trustee.
What is the Role of the Successor Trustee?
A successor trustee is a fiduciary (person who manages the trust after the death of the settlor). The trustee can be a person or organization who has a duty to act in good faith and in accordance with both the terms and purposes of the trust and the interest of the trust beneficiaries and other interested parties.
This requires the trustee to provide qualified beneficiaries with information regarding the trust and the trust assets. The trustee, similar to the personal representative in an estate, must also ensure that the settlor’s debts and taxes have been paid prior to the distribution of the trust assets to the beneficiaries.
What is the Role of the Attorney of the Successor Trustee?
The successor trustee may consider seeking legal advice on trust administration matters. The following is a sample list of such matters:
- Review and analysis of the governing documents (Trust and Trust Restatements/Amendments; Wills and Codicils, and any Separate Writing)
- Filing of required notices, death certificate, Will and other related documents, per Florida law
- The Successor Trustee’s duty to protect, insure and manage assets, per Florida law
- Payment of creditor’s claims and expenses of administration
- Considerations in dealing with creditors and claims against the Trust or Estate
- Order of priority for payment of claims and abatement of bequests and legacies
- Responsibilities of the Successor Trustee to provide information and accountings to the beneficiaries
- Preparation and filing of specific tax returns
- Preparation of legal documents required to effect distributions
- Final discharge of liability of the Successor Trustee at the conclusion of administration
The Law Firm of Arlene C. Chase, P.A. welcomes the opportunity to assist you during this difficult time. Contact us at (941) 575-5142 if you have questions or to schedule an appointment.