Big Changes to Florida’s Trust Code

Every beneficiary of a Florida Trust is required to received an annual accounting which complies with the very strict requirements Florida Statutes 736.08135. Practitioners long understood that if a trustee failed to provide that accounting, they would be forced to retroactively go back and provide those accounting…no matter how many years they failed to provide them. And if the beneficiary had to retain an attorney, that beneficiary was entitled to claim their attorney’s fees related to enforcing that right. But then along comes a bombshell case, Corya v. Sanders out of Florida’s 4th District court of appeals which held that there was a statute of limitations and trustees could only be required to go back 4 years. Corya was an aberration and the logic behind it was very troubling. Well…the good news is Florida’s Probate and Trust attorneys worked promptly to clarify the existing statute and to make it clear that the interpretation of statute in Corya was wrong. Here is the relevant section

Paragraph (a) applies to claims based upon acts or omissions occurring on or after July 1, 2008. A beneficiary’s actual knowledge that he or she has not received a trust accounting does not cause a claim to accrue against the trustee for breach of trust based upon the failure to provide a trust accounting required by s. 736.0813 or former s. 737.303 and does not commence the running of any period of limitations or laches for such a claim, and paragraph (a) and chapter 95 do not bar any such claim.

(Section 8, ch. 2018-35, provides that “[t]he changes to ss. 736.08135 and 736.1008, Florida Statutes, made by this act are intended to clarify existing law, are remedial in nature, and apply retroactively to all cases pending or commenced on or after July 1, 2018.”)

So the bottom line is this….unless and until a trustee provides a full accounting that complies with 736.08135…they’re on the hook for all liability and expenses….FOREVER.

This of course has important implications for both beneficiaries and trustees…..and reinforces the need for both to understand their rights!

There will be a vast number of additional posts on all the changes to Florida’s Trust Code….STAY TUNED!

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