When it comes to creating and using a Florida living trust, also known as a revocable living trust, there are some issues with which you will want to be familiar. Though we’ve talked about trust management responsibilities in the past, reviewed how important it is to choose the right successor trustee, and discussed a variety of other subjects surrounding living trusts, we thought we would take the time today to go into some details about how trust management responsibilities get passed from one trustee to another.
It’s always best to be clear about these kinds of issues before you decide to create your Florida living trust, and you should always talk to your attorney about any questions you have. Until then, here is what you should know.
Florida Living Trust Management Responsibilities
In most situations, a person who creates a Florida living trust will choose him or herself as the trustee. The trustee is the person, or occasionally an organization, who has the responsibility of managing all the trust property. When you create a Florida living trust you will take some of your property and transfer it into the trust’s name. The trustee is then responsible for managing the trust property on behalf of the beneficiary. The person who creates a Florida living trust, called the grantor or trustor, will usually be the beneficiary as well.
If you die or become incapacitated, it will fall to the successor trustee to begin managing the trust in your place. The successor trustee will actually manage the trust in your absence, which is why it’s so important to choose someone who is responsible and capable of managing the trust property.
Voluntary Trustee Transfers
So how does this transfer take place? In the best of circumstances, the original trustee will voluntarily transfer his or her authority to the successor trustee. This can be done in a number of ways, but must be done in accordance with the trust terms. A voluntary transfer typically requires the trustee to draft a letter in which he or she transfers control of the trust over to the successor trustee.
Involuntary Trustee Transfers
Voluntary transfers of trust management responsibilities are not always possible. For example, a trustee who has become incapacitated as a result of a car accident will not be able to voluntarily transfer authority.
In this situation, the trust terms will dictate how the successor trustee must take responsibility for the management duties. The successor trustee might, for example, have to ask a court to determine that the original trustee is incapacitated, or have two doctors state the same.
As a person making a trust, you need to talk about these issues with your attorney so you are clear about the options available.