Understanding the Responsibilities of the Trustee
When you decide to form a trust and transfer the title of your property to the fund, you hand over the responsibility of managing it to the trustee. The grantor gives over the complete responsibility in certain arrangements. The objective is to manage the trust assets and provide the beneficiaries the profits, according to the wishes of the grantor.
A trust arrangement is an effective estate-planning tool. You can put your property into a trust and the trustee ensures that the beneficiaries get their share of profits. It has numerous additional benefits as well. When you form a trust, the beneficiaries can avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process, can avail tax benefits, and so on.
Apart from managing the trust property, the trustee has fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries. What exactly does this mean? This duty implies that the trustee must act in good faith. Moreover, they need to ensure the best interests of the beneficiaries. In such a situation, what happens if a beneficiary suspects the breach of these duties?
Like every US state, Florida too has specific laws regarding a trust arrangement. If, as a beneficiary, you suspect that the trustee breaches their duties, you need to consult an attorney immediately. Only a capable legal professional can help assess whether there was a breach or not.
Here is a list of what a trustee cannot do with regard to the trust assets.
1) A trustee cannot deposit trust funds into a personal account/safe deposit box
2) A trustee cannot invest in schemes without proper documents/speculative schemes
3) A trustee cannot mix the assets of the trust with any other assets
4) A trustee cannot make loans without proper documents and/or security
5) A trustee cannot make cash disbursements to beneficiaries without proper documents
6) A trustee cannot take title to their own name (without notifying their status as trustee)
7) A trustee cannot act without the consent of their co-trustee(s)
If you think any of these is happening, you better discuss it with an attorney and determine whether you have a case or not. If there is merit in your case, your attorney could help you approach the trust litigation the proper legal way.
However, it is necessary to understand that trust litigation Florida involves a specialized branch of law. You need an attorney proficient in the state trust laws to understand the legal details and put up a strong case. Choose carefully; after all, the competence of your lawyer is an important factor in the case.