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Is a Trust Accounting Order Appealable?

FAQs • Apr 4, 2021
post about Is a Trust Accounting Order Appealable?

Trust beneficiaries want to know their rights. How much do they get from the trust? And trustees have an obligation to give their beneficiaries relevant information and annual accountings. So, what if a Florida Probate Judge orders the trustee to complete an accounting? What if the trustee does not want to do that right away? Is a trust accounting order appealable right now? A March 31, 2021 appellate opinion from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal sheds light on trust appeals. We have previously provided solid, insightful Trust Law Commentary on BENEFICIARY RIGHTS, Removing a Florida Trustee, and even Suspending a Florida Trustee.

Florida Trust Code

Whether or not you can appeal a trust case order depends on two things. First, you need to understand Florida Trust Law. Florida Trust Law is found in the Florida Trust Code at Chapter 736. To watch some great FREE TRUST VIDEOS on beneficiary rights and getting information about your trust, CLICK HERE. The other thing you need to understand is the Florida Appellate Rules. Read the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. Focus on Fla. R. App. Proc. 9.170. That appellate rule creates opportunities and potential pitfalls. Some trust orders must be appealed within 30 days or you lose your right to have them reviewed later. If you miss the deadline, then the order you don’t like becomes a final, non-appealable order. But understanding whether or not you can appeal now can be less than clear.

Trust Accounting Order Appealable. Trust lawyer who handles trust trials: John Pankauski literally wrote the book on Florida Trusts. You can purchase Pankauski’s Trustees Guide on Amazon.

Florida Trust Accounting Appealable Now?

In this March 31, 2021 3rd DCA opinion, a trustee was ordered to complete an accounting. The trustee appealed that order. The trustee claimed the order could be reviewed by the Florida Appellate Court for Miami-Dade County under Rule. 9.170 (b). You can read the opinion in the Giller v. Giller case for free. The appeals court discussed this Florida Appellate Rule, and when some orders may be reviewed, right now, versus at the end of the case. The court talked about what made an order “appealable“. There is a general rule that an order which still requires more work, additional judicial labor, is not a final order. That’s what happened in this case. The order on appeal was rejected for appellate review. The order from the Miami-Dade Probate Judge specifically said that they had more work to do. There were issues of calculating monies owed and distribution of properties. As such the Appeals Court ruled that this order was not subject to review right now. The Appellate Court lacked jurisdiction to here this appeal. It was not a final, appealable order. There was more judicial labor to occur. And, this order compelling a trustee to account, was not one of the “appealable” listed orders under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.170(b).

Suing Your Trustee for an Accounting

Trustees who don’t do their jobs or who ignore their beneficiaries can be sued for BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY. Sometimes, this lawsuit by a beneficiary against a Florida Trustee is called a BREACH OF TRUST. What duties does a Florida Trustee owe its beneficiaries? CLICK HERE. A trustee who behaves really badly can be sued for Punitive Damages. For a free video on punitive damages in trust cases, CLICK HERE. One of the most basic duties of a trustee is to administer the trust prudently, in accordance with the trust instrument and Florida Trust Law. Florida Trust Law says that a trustee has a LOT of duties she owes to her beneficiaries. Failing to provide annual accountings is a breach of trust. To see a FREE VIDEO on trust administration and trust accountings, CLICK HERE.