the terms and provisions in the trust agreement, will or durable power of
attorney and administer the document in accordance with these terms and
Be able to explain the terms and provisions of the trust agreement, will or
durable power of attorney to the beneficiaries.
Understand fiduciary duties as required by Florida law.
Review Florida’s Prudent Investor Rule and
be able to implement an investment strategy based on this rule.
Review Florida’s Principal and Income Act and be able to determine how to
allocate receipts, disbursements and distributions based on this act.
A successor trustee of a revocable trust must notify all beneficiaries of
acceptance of trustee duties, and upon reasonable request, provide copies of
the trust agreement and all amendments to the beneficiaries.
A successor trustee and a personal representative must obtain a Tax
Identification Number for the trust or probate estate from the Internal
Revenue Service. However, an attorney in fact can continue to use the
principal’s Social Security number.
Locate all of the assets and determine their values.
Provide documentation to all relevant financial institutions, banks, brokers,
etc., indicating that the fiduciary now has the authority over these assets.
Keep assets separate from property that is not subject to the trust, will or
durable power of attorney.
Prepare an initial inventory of the assets, showing both the tax cost bases
and the current fair market value.
Collect all receipts and determine whether the receipt is principal or income
or should be allocated between both
Pay all expenses, creditors, and fees and determine whether the expense is
principal or income or should be allocated between both
If the beneficiary receives public assistance benefits, then the fiduciary
must also be familiar with the types of disbursements and distributions
allowed so as not to jeopardize the beneficiary’s public assistance benefits.
For an income beneficiary, the fiduciary must calculate the amount of income
due and distribute these funds according to the terms of the trust.
Make discretionary principal distributions based on the terms of the document
with consideration for both the current and the potential remainder
Prepare annual accountings of the assets in Florida’s required accounting
Provide copies of the annual accountings and required notices to all
beneficiaries, including both current and reasonably ascertainable remainder
beneficiaries. The beneficiaries, then, have six months from the receipt of
the annual accounting and notices to assert a claim.
If appropriate annual accountings are not prepared and sent to the
beneficiaries, there is no statute of limitation barring the beneficiaries
from initiating legal proceedings against the fiduciary.
Preparation and filing of all necessary tax returns, even if no tax is due. If
the fiduciary fails to pay taxes that are due, tax law permits the Internal
Revenue Service to collect the taxes from the fiduciary’s personal assets. For
trusts and probate estates, the most common return is the U.S. Income Tax
Return for Estate and Trusts which is IRS Form 1041. This return is
significantly more complicated than an individual’s income tax return.
The fiduciary should retain a certified public accountant, who is familiar
with all of the requirements of fiduciary tax returns.