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Florida Trust Code — what you need to know

FAQs • Apr 19, 2021

The Florida Trust Code is a set of statutes. It sets the groundwork for all Florida trust matters. Everything from the trustee-beneficiary relationship. Creating and ending trusts. And, of course, judicial proceedings like lawsuits and removal actions. To get a plain-English background of this body of Florida law, keep reading. We will point you to the most important parts of the trust code. Whether you are a beneficiary, trustee, or adult child of a beneficiary or trust creator. And, yes, if you got cut out of a trust, there’s information for you, as well. If you would like to see a number of focused, informative Florida Trust & Probate Videos for free. Click HERE for an outstanding video library on important Florida estate and trust legal topics. Now, let’s show you what to read in the trust code, and we’ll name specific statutes for your to read. This is “user-friendly”. There is a link to more information on the part we are writing about, so you can read or learn more on a particular topic if you want.

Pankauskis Trusted Guide book
Florida Trust Code. An important first step to understanding rights and obligations.

The Background

First, you should know the background. The Florida Trust Code is a set of statutes. These statutes are found at Florida Statutes Chapter 736. The trust code is similar to the Florida Probate Code and the Florida Guardianship Code. How? They set forth what our legislature wants you to know about those particular topics. Why mention them? Because they can all interconnect. If you have a guardianship of a wealth Florida resident. Most probably, her trust will come up, or her estate plan. And if you have an estate. There could be a pour over will that leaves everything to a revocable trust. Many times, beneficiaries and family members need to understand both the trust code and probate code. So, let’s talk about the trust code. What are the most important parts?

Most Important Parts

Like minds might differ. But the most important parts of the Florida Trust Code include the part on Judicial Proceedings. This gives you an understanding of a court case involving a trust. What can you ask a judge for ? How do I complain about my trustee or seek justice? It will explain the court’s role in this matter. What it does not tell you is that most cases for trusts are sent to the Probate Division of Florida Courts. Talk to your trust litigator about whether the Civil Division is appropriate. Next, take a look a the Trustee’s Duties to her beneficiaries. There are a lot ! And that should be comforting for trust beneficiaries. But the code does not tell you a lot about a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against a trustee. In fact, they refer to that as a Breach of Trust. And there is only limited information on removing or suspending a trustee. There is a whole section on revocable trusts. And remedies for a beneficiaries who have been harmed by a bad trustee. That section also includes important aspects of a trustee’s liability. There’s a lot to read. Those are just some of the highlights. If you want to read about family trusts, consider Florida Trust Lawyer John Pankauski. He literally wrote the book which is available ONLINE.