In Florida as in most states, a Trustee has a fiduciary duty to administer the Trust according to the terms of the Trust. This is an extremely high standard of care.
A trustee is an individual or entity that holds property for the benefit of another. Trustees are tasked with administering the wishes of the settlor/grantor’s (creator of the Trust) as laid out in his or her trust. Among the duties of a Trustee in Florida are the following:
- Duty of Loyalty. The Trustee must administer the Trust solely in the interests of the beneficiaries.
- Duty of Impartiality. A Trustee cannot play favorites and must administer the Trust without showing favoritism to any one beneficiary.
- Duty to Act Prudently. The Trustee must act as would a prudent person . The Trustee must exercise care, skill, and caution in protecting the Trust’s assets.
- Duty to Protect. A Trustee has a duty to control and protect the assets of the Trust.
- Duty to Inform. The Trustee is to keep the beneficiaries reasonably informed about the Trust and the Trust’s administration. The Trustee also has the duty to give an accounting of the Trust’s assets if a beneficiary requests one.
Finally, the Trustee acts as a fiduciary in administering the Trust according to the terms of the Trust. This is a higher legal standard of care than among regular individuals. A Trustee can be held personally liable if they fail to live up to this fiduciary duty. Administering a Trust can be very challenging for an individual who does not have experience in being a Trustee. It is important to hire an experienced attorney with expertise in the arena of Trust administration.