Orlando Trust Administration Attorney
Trusts are an effective estate planning tool for minimizing estate taxes and avoiding probate. Upon the death of the person who creates the trust (the settlor), however, all trusts must go through a complicated trust administration phase. Because trustees have legal responsibilities to operate in the best interest of the beneficiaries along with fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries, it is essential to have the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney.
At Patriot Legal Group, we help clients throughout Florida navigate the trust administration process. Well-versed in the Florida Trust Code, we work to protect the interests of trustees and beneficiaries alike and ensure that the terms of trusts are faithfully executed.
As a veteran-owned law firm, we are dedicated to serving clients from all walks of life — individuals, families, veterans, service members, same-sex couples — with the highest standards of professional excellence. Contact our office today to speak with an experienced Florida trust administration lawyer.
What is the Role of a Trustee in Florida?
A trustee is an individual or entity named to manage the assets of a trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Moreover, a trustee is considered a fiduciary, because a trustee is placed in a position of trust with the beneficiaries. As such, a trustee is required to:
- Act in the best interest of the beneficiaries at all times
- Preserve the value of the trust assets
A trustee who fails to uphold his or her duties can be held liable and face potential civil penalties and fines. For this reason, it is wise to work with an experienced trust administration attorney. When you become our client, we can help you meet your essential trustee’s duties, including:
- Notifying beneficiaries and interested parties about the settlor’s death
- Inventorying the trust assets
- Arranging for an appraisal of the assets
- Transferring property into the trust
- Obtaining tax ID numbers
- Filing estate tax returns
- Trust accounting
- Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries
Administering a trust requires you to be capable and dependable, which is likely the reason the settlor designated you as the trustee. At the same time, trustees’ duties can become complicated, particularly when a trust contains significant assets or disputes arise among the beneficiaries.
The best way to avoid costly mistakes and properly administer a trust is to have the informed representation we provide. When you work with us, you will have access to our team of trusts and estates professionals and a network of accountants, appraisers, and financial experts. We will work collaboratively to help you administer the trust and mitigate potential liabilities.
When beneficiary disputes arise, we recommend settling out of court to preserve the value of the trust, but we have the skills and resources to manage trust and estate litigation. Although administering a trust is challenging, being appointed as a trustee is an honor. Let the team at Patriot Legal Group help you navigate the process and faithfully execute your trustee’s duties.
What You Need to Know About Trust Accounting in Florida
Trusts are intended to be administered with little or no judicial intervention. But trustees are required to provide an annual trust accounting to beneficiaries who receive distributions during the accounting period. A trust accounting must disclose the following information:
- Assets and liabilities of the trust
- Trustee’s compensation
- Agents retained by the trustee (e.g. appraisers, accountants, attorneys)
In short, a trustee is required to fully disclose any actions taken on behalf of the beneficiaries or otherwise required by the trust. It is worth noting that trust accounting is not the same as tax or financial accountings prepared by an accountant. For this reason, it is wise to work with a lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of the trust code. The veteran attorneys at Patriot Legal Group know how to prepare a balanced trust accounting that provides transparency to the beneficiaries and mitigates the potential for disputes and estate litigation.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Trust Administration Attorneys
At Patriot Legal Group, we regularly prepare a variety of revocable and irrevocable trusts for estate planning and help trustees navigate the trust administration process. If you are considering creating a trust, we can draw up the trust document and help you decide on a trustee. While it is common to designate family members to act as trustees, the person you choose must be capable and dependable above all.
If you have been named as a trustee or are currently serving as a trustee, we will help you carry out your important duties and avoid mistakes that could result in significant financial penalties. Our attorneys also advise beneficiaries about their rights and make sure they receive the assets the settlor intended for them. Administering a trust can be complicated, why go it alone? Contact our office today to set up an appointment.