J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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How and when would a Florida trustee terminate a trust?

Any Floridian who has thought about or done any research on estate planning has probably at least heard about trusts. The trust is a mechanism by which the owner of certain assets places those assets in a legal instrument for the benefit of another person. The trustee then oversees and takes care of the trust and its assets for the beneficiaries. While the details of trusts can vary widely in their complexity and applications, these basic rules are common to every trust.

Floridians with only rudimentary knowledge of trusts can understand the basics of how and why a trust gets started. But, does the trust ever end, and if so, how?

The trust instrument, which is the written agreement that governs the trust and its administration, can provide for a specific end date to the trust. When that date arrives, the trustee will distribute all of the property in the trust to the beneficiaries. Another possibility is that the trust ends following a certain triggering event.

For example, a parent might leave property in trust for a child, and the trust agreement establishes that the child will take distribution of that property when a certain event occurs. The triggering event might be when the child gets married, graduates from college or meets any other specific criteria that the parent lays out when forming the trust.

Regardless of how a trust ends, the most important part of the termination process is distributing any property that is still in the trust to the beneficiaries. A person typically has a particular purpose when they set up a trust. By detailing the steps for the trust's termination in the trust agreement, the person who set it up can help to ensure that its purpose is fulfilled without unnecessary complications.

People in the Polk County area who are interested in more information about any aspects of beginning or ending a trust should contact an attorney who has experience in trust administration.

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