New laws went into effect last summer which significantly revised the rules applicable to Florida trustees. Basically, the new laws are designed to ensure that an irrevocable trust’s “qualified beneficiaries” (defined broadly to include practically all beneficiaries with a vested present or future interest in all or a portion of the trust’s assets) are provided annually with complete information regarding the trust’s assets,its portfolio performance, and its receipts and disbursements. For those of you who are serving as trustee of a trust which by design or operation is now irrevocable, we recommend you familiarize yourself with these new trust disclosure rules; failure to do so could expose you to liability in a claim by a qualified beneficiary.

Since the particular trust accounting and disclosure requirements of the new laws exceed the scope of this article, we invite you to contact an attorney in our estate planning and wealth preservation group for more information on how you can satisfy your fiduciary responsibilities. … and, as to your “old” estate planning documents (Wills and Trusts) … How long has it been since you’ve looked at your Will or Trust? Obviously, not fun documents to read, however we think it’s important to remind our clients to review their estate planning instruments on a regular basis. We suggest that at least every two years you re-visit your documents to confirm that their terms are still consistent with your preferences. This is not to say that legal work will be required every two years, it’s just that the failure to review your Will and Trust regularly could result in unexpected surprises later. For instance…

A stated gift of cash or personal property to a friend or acquaintance may no longer be appropriate.
A designated beneficiary may have predeceased you.
A birth or divorce has occurred, which may alter your dispositive intentions.
A designated Personal Representative (executor) may no longer be a resident of Florida (which could disqualify such person for that office).
Changes in the estate and gift tax laws could negatively impact your beneficiaries absent adjustment of the tax allocation and apportionment formulas.

These are a few examples where a review of your existing estate planning documents could avoid a hardship or other unintended result. If upon review of your Will and Trust you observe any irregularities or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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