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In Florida Trust Administration, what is a Notice of Trust?

After the grantor or settler of a Trust dies, the successor Trustee has certain administration duties which must be fulfilled. One such duty is to file a document known as a "Notice of Trust." The Notice is filed with the probate court of the county of the settlor's domicile and the court having jurisdiction of the settlor's estate. Typically, the Notice should be filed as soon as possible after the death of the settler of the Trust.

The Notice of Trust must contain the name of the settlor, the settlor's date of death, the title of the Trust, if any, the date of the Trust, and the name and address of the Trustee. The Notice will typically contain language stating that the Trust is liable for the expenses of the administration of the decedent's estate and enforceable claims of the decedent's creditors to the extent the decedent's estate is insufficient to pay them, as provided in Section 733.607(2) of the Florida Statutes.

The Clerk of Court must file and index the Notice of Trust in the same manner as a Caveat unless there is a probate proceeding pending for the settlor's estate. If there is an estate pending, the Notice of Trust must be filed in the probate proceeding and the Clerk must send a copy to the Personal Representative of the estate. By accomplishing these steps, the public is put on notice of the existence of the Trust and is given certain basic information, such as the Trustee and his or her contact information.

Although the administration of a Trust does not typically involve a court, nonetheless a Trustee is well-advised to seek legal direction from an estate attorney. Compliance with matters such as the Notice of Trust are not complicated but getting them right is important. Assistance and direction from an experienced attorney are important.

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Attorney Michael Lins
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