Disputes between a Personal Representative or Trustee and a Beneficiary

The person or persons appointed to administer an estate may not have the best relationships with the beneficiaries or other family members. The duties of a Personal Representative and Trustee are expressly outlined by Florida Statutes and personal relationships should not be allowed to interfere with the administration process. The Personal Representative/Trustee should provide all the statutory notices, all the statutory information and the related timelines for the beneficiary to follow. All correspondence should be sent to the beneficiary by certified mail. 

Normally, when closing an estate, the Personal Representative/Trustee will want to receive beneficiary receipts, releases and waivers of accountings. If a beneficiary is uncooperative, the Personal Representative/Trustee will have to go the route of providing a formal accounting and plan for distribution and wait the appropriate time. If this is all done properly, and the Personal Representative/Trustee has given them all the accounting information and a plan for distribution and they do not formally object, the Personal Representative/Trustee sends the beneficiary their final distribution and concludes administration of the estate.

If the beneficiary has an issue with either the accounting or the plan for distribution, they may object, and request a hearing before a judge to review the plan. This is a legal proceeding and the parties may need to hire an attorney to represent their interests. If the beneficiary does not have a legitimate complaint, the judge will simply dismiss the objection and allow the Personal Representative/Trustee to go forward and close the estate. If the beneficiary does have a legitimate complaint, the judge may require the accounting and/or distribution plan be amended by the Personal Representative/Trustee.

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