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In Florida, do courts normally oversee Trust administration?

Unlike probate, Florida courts do not automatically oversee or get involved in Trust administration. Instead, they usually only get involved when an interested person invokes the court's jurisdiction relating to an issue involving the Trust.

Section 736.0201 Fla. Stat. provides that the court may intervene in the administration of a Trust to the extent the court's jurisdiction is invoked by an interested person or as provided by law. A judicial proceeding involving a Trust may relate to the validity, administration, or distribution of a Trust, including proceedings to:

(a) Determine the validity of all or part of a Trust;

(b) Appoint or remove a Trustee;

(c) Review Trustees' fees;

(d) Review and settle interim or final accounts;

(e) Ascertain beneficiaries; determine any question arising in the administration or distribution of any Trust, including questions of construction of Trust instruments; instruct Trustees; and determine the existence or nonexistence of any immunity, power, privilege, duty, or right;

(f) Obtain a declaration of rights; or

(g) Determine any other matters involving a Trustee and beneficiaries.

Even when a court's jurisdiction is invoked, it usually is limited to the issues and scope of the requested relief. A Trust is not subject to continuing court supervision unless ordered by the court.

A beneficiary or Trustee who has an issue involving one of the issues described above should consult an experienced Trust attorney to determine his or her rights.

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Attorney Michael Lins
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