After a person’s death in Florida, that person’s estate will need to be administered. To put that another way, the deceased person’s assets and debts will need to be assessed, debts and taxes will need to be paid, and heirs or beneficiaries will need to receive assets the deceased has left them. The administration of an estate may involve multiple processes, depending upon the nature of the estate and the assets. If a person dies with a will, then the assets may go through probate. When a person dies and has a living trust, then a successor trustee will be responsible for distributing assets in the trust to the beneficiary or beneficiaries in addition to other responsibilities. The process of handling the trust is known as trust administration.
The trustee has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, which requires proper administration of the trust and duties of loyalty, prudence, and good faith. Failure to carry out the duties of a trustee can result in liability for the trustee. If you have questions about trust administration or need assistance with the administration of a trust in Florida, one of our attorneys can assist you.
Types of Trusts
There are many different types of trusts that a person can establish under Florida law. Trust administration typically involves revocable and irrevocable living trusts, but there are other types of trusts that can be created in order to protect assets and to provide for family members. In order to understand how trust administration works after a death, it is important to learn more about living trusts and how they are distinct from other types of trusts in Florida. The following are commonly created Florida trusts:
- Revocable living trust: This is a type of trust in which a grantor (the person making the trust) establishes the trust during his or her lifetime with the ability to amend or revoke the trust at any point while she or he is still alive. Revocable living trusts allow a person to leave assets to beneficiaries while avoiding probate.
- Irrevocable living trust: This type of trust also allows for assets to be transferred while avoiding probate, but its terms cannot be changed once the grantor establishes the trust. Once the trust is created, the grantor’s assets in the trust become the property of the trust.
- Testamentary trust: This is a type of trust that is irrevocable and is part of a will in Florida, and it takes effect upon the grantor’s death. Sometimes these types of trusts are known as “will trusts,” and they allow a grantor to determine when assets are passed to a beneficiary.
- Medicaid trust: This kind of trust is designed to protect an older adult’s assets when that adult requires long-term care in a nursing home, for example.
Contact Our Trust Administration Attorneys
When you have been named a trustee in Florida, you will need to understand your responsibilities under Florida law and will need to carry out those duties precisely. Beyond the mere responsibilities of administering the trust, you will also have fiduciary duties as a trustee. Those fiduciary duties generally include a duty of loyalty, a duty to act in good faith, and a duty to enter into transactions with prudence. If you need assistance administering a trust, or if you have general questions about establishing or administering a trust in Florida, one of our trust administration lawyers can speak with you today. Contact Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A. to learn more about our services.