Hilgendorf v. Estate of Coleman

Hilgendorf v. Estate of Coleman 201 So.3d 1262 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)

Can an estate or a beneficiary of a revocable trust compel the trustee to render an accounting of receipts and disbursements made during the life of the decedent? The Court held that here, where the trust did not contain a provision requiring accountings during the decedent's life and the decedent did not request accountings during her life, the trustee had no duty to account while the trust was revocable.

Prior to the enactment of F.S. 736.0603, which provides that while a trust is revocable, the duties of the trustee are owed exclusively to the settlor, the law in Florida provided that a trustee owed duties to the settlor/beneficiary of a revocable trust and not to contingent beneficiaries.  Only once the trust becomes irrevocable at the death of the settlor may a beneficiary sue for breach of a duty that the trustee owed which was breached during the decedent's lifetime.  However, the Court found that beneficiary must sue for a violation of a specific provision of the trust, which was not applicable here.  Since the statutory duty to account pursuant to F.S. 736.0813 does not arise until the trust becomes irrevocable, the beneficiary here was not entitled to an accounting.

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