Trust Invalidation, Lawsuit Alternatives in Florida
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Since 2007, there are several options for people in Florida who want to launch a lawsuit to have a trust declared invalid, or are defending claims to have a trust declared invalid.
Settlement Agreement (Florida Trust Code §736.0111)
Parties may enter into a binding, non-judicial settlement agreement with respect to virtually any trust matter. Many lawsuits can be avoided through the parties working out a non-judicial settlement agreement without entering court. Where a fair and equitable remedy can be worked out this is a far superior option than depleting trust assets in expensive and protracted litigation. Settlement resolution gives the parties some control over the ultimate result.
Trust Modification and Termination (The Florida Trust Code §736.04113)
A trust dispute can sometimes be resolved through a simple modification, termination, or reformation of the trust. Trust modification is allowed when performed in a manner consistent with the settlor’s purpose for the trust.
Uneconomic Trusts Can Be Terminated (The Florida Trust Code §736.0414)
A trustee or court may modify or terminate an uneconomic trust. A trustee of a trust with property worth less than $50,000 may terminate the trust on its his own initiative. A court may modify a trust, terminate a trust, or remove or appoint trustees, if the court determines that the value of the trust property is insufficient to justify the cost of administration.
Trust Reformation (The Florida Trust Code §736.0415)
An interested party may ask the Court to reform the terms of a trust to conform to the settlor’s intentions, if it is proved by clear and convincing evidence, that both the accomplishment of the settlor’s intent and the terms of the trust were affected by a mistake.
Trustee May Be Removed (The Florida Trust Code §736.0706)
A settlor, a co trustee, or any beneficiary may request court removal of a trustee. In addition, a court may remove a trustee on its own initiative. Statutory grounds for removal of a trustee include breach of trust, lack of cooperation among co trustees, and unfitness, unwillingness, or persistent failure to effectively administer the trust. If all the beneficiaries agree, the trustee can also be removed. Removal on these grounds does not require a showing of malfeasance. It requires only that the removal best serve the interests of all beneficiaries, that it not be inconsistent with a material purpose of the trust, and that a suitable co trustee or successor trustee be available.
In addition to the above, a trustee may resign with court approval, or resign without court approval with 30 days notice to the settlor (if living), the co trustees (if any), and all qualified beneficiaries. However, a trustee’s resignation does not discharge his liability.
Our Florida trust attorneys will handle your Palm Beach, Miami Dade, or Broward claim against trustee.
If you currently administer a trust and have been sued our Florida trust lawyers can handle a lawsuit against a trustee in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami Dade county and throughout Florida.
Beneficiaries have the right to an accounting, and using the court system may compel the trustee to account for and explain the trust assets and expenditures. If an accounting has been provided and is incomplete or objectionable to a beneficiary, then the beneficiary may seek judicial intervention for better, clearer, or more complete accounting. This is almost never a good sign to a trustee as demand letters and lawsuits often follow.
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