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How do I resign as a trust's trustee?

If you serve as a trustee to a trust, there are many reasons why you may wish to resign from your duties at some point. While this is certainly possible, it is similar to a minor divorce in some ways — legally allowed, but only by following certain state-specific procedures. For trustees in Florida, the process is relatively simple, but not always easy.

A trustee who wishes to resign his or her position in Florida must either give 30 days of notice to all the relevant parties to the trust, such as beneficiaries and co-trustees, or else obtain the written permission of the court to resign. At this point, the court may then issue additional orders to various parties to ensure that the property in the estate remains properly protected.

It is important to understand that if you have incurred any liabilities toward the trust during your tenure as the trustee, resigning your position will not dissolve your responsibility. Many trustees who run afoul of the trust or its beneficiaries through misfortune or poor practices as a trustee hope that they can simply resign and leave the mess for someone else. While they may not have to fix whatever mess they wish to leave, resignation does not do away with liability.

If you believe it is time for you to step down as a trustee, it is wise to consult with an estate planning attorney to make sure that you are properly protecting your rights and appropriately providing for the needs and expectations of the trust and its beneficiaries. Without proper guidance, you may create conflicts you do not anticipate.

Source: State. FL. US, "The 2017 Florida Statutes," accessed July 28, 2017

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