Trustee Provide an Accounting

When Must the Trustee Provide Accounting?

trustee provide accounting to trustFundamental to trust law, a trustee is always under a duty to give information to a beneficiary. So when must the trustee provide accounting? Most states have enacted statutes specifically dealing with this duty to account. In Florida Fla. Stat. 736.0813 provides that a trustee shall provide a trust accounting to the trust beneficiaries at least annually and on the termination of the trust.

The trustee has a whole year to operate as trustee without being required to provide an accounting to the beneficiaries. But, the trustee must provide an accounting annually. This accounting is the primary method a beneficiary can hold a trustee accountable. Without an accounting, a beneficiary is virtually powerless and at the mercy of the trustee.

Calendar for trustee provide accountingMany have asked the question – exactly when is the accounting due? While none of the trust statutes specify a specific time frame when the accounting is due once a year has elapsed, common sense would suggest that a trustee has a reasonable amount of time to provide the accounting.

When must the trustee provide accounting? In my opinion, a reasonable amount of time would approximately 90 days from the close of the accounting period. This provides the trustee sufficient time to gather up the final month’s information and assemble the actual trust accounting.

What if the trustee does not provide the trust accounting? I would suggest that you write to the trustee shortly after the accounting period is up to request an accounting. If the trustee fails or refuses to provide an accounting, you may be justified in arguing that the trustee has committed a breach of fiduciary duty and even a fraud and should at the very least, be removed for intentionally refusing to provide the accounting.

Trustee provide accounting art courtIf the accounting is not forthcoming a beneficiary can compel the accounting by filing a lawsuit for an accounting. I strongly urge trust beneficiaries to be vigilant in monitoring the trustee and making sure a timely accounting is provided.

To schedule an appointment with Jay Fleece:  

Phone: 727-471-5868  

Trust and Trustee

Trustee Responsibilities for an Estate.

Trustee: If the decedent had established what is commonly referred to as a “Revocable Trust”. to work properly, assets must be transferred to it. 

Important: Titles must be changed from an “individual” name to the name of the revocable living trust. Because the name is no longer in the titles, there is no reason for the Florida probate court to be involved. What happens if the Trustee becomes incapacitated or when the person dies? The estate assets in the decedent’s revocable trust are a part of his or her gross estate. – Mainly for the purposes of determining federal estate tax liability.

TrustWhen a Revocable Trust is executed, the Trustee is usually the person who executed the trust.

Married couples are often co-trustees. When one dies or becomes incapacitated, the surviving spouse continues to handle the finances with no other actions required. Many people choose to be their own trustee and continue to manage their affairs for as long as they are able. However, they are ultimately responsible to the beneficiaries for prudent management of the trust assets. Therefore they should also consult with an experienced estate planner and trust attorney.

The Settlor of the trust could appoint another person or financial institution as the Trustee of their revocable trust. If you have been named as a current Trustee or Co-trustee, you may already be acting in that capacity. So you need to be aware of your duties and responsibilities as trustee of the estate.

Trustee and Court ClerkThe Trustee is always required to file a “Notice of Trust” with the clerk of the court. It should be in the county in which the decedent resided at the time of the decedent’s death. The purpose of the notice is to make the decedent’s creditors aware of the of the trust’s existence. They have rights to enforce their claims against the trust assets.

All of the tasks which must be performed by a personal representative, in connection with the administration of a probate estate, must also be performed by the Trustee of a revocable trust. They generally will not need to file the same documents with the clerk of the court. Furthermore, if a probate proceeding is not commenced, the assets comprising the decedent’s revocable trust are subject to a two-year creditor’s claim period, rather than the three-month non-claim period available to a personal representative.

To schedule an appointment with Jay Fleece:  

Phone: 727-471-5868