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Duties and Responsibilities of a Successor Trustee

A Florida trustee who takes over for another Florida trustee, a successor trustee, has many responsibilities and duties. First of all, you have all the fiduciary duties and obligations under the Florida trust code. You owe your beneficiaries relevant information in annual accountings. But here is the x-factor or here is a trap for the unwary, you as successor trustee, have a couple of things that you need to do. One, you need to investigate the acts of the prior trustee to make sure they did everything right. If they didn’t do something right, you have a duty to inform your beneficiaries and you may have to sue that prior trustee.

Secondly, don’t assume what the prior trustee was doing was proper. Saying that you’re not going to change the trust investments because the prior trustee had those investment is not an investment strategy. Saying you’re going to follow something the prior trustee was doing for years is not a proper procedure. You’re required, as a successor trustee, to exercise your own independent judgment after you’ve evaluated the Florida trust and how it’s going to be administered and how it should be administered for Florida trust beneficiaries according to Florida trust law.