Online Sunshine Logo
Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature
November 13, 2019
Text: 'NEW Advanced Legislative Search'
Interpreter Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Go to MyFlorida House
Select Year:  
The Florida Statutes

The 2019 Florida Statutes

Title XLII
ESTATES AND TRUSTS
Chapter 738
PRINCIPAL AND INCOME
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 738.104
738.104 Trustee’s power to adjust.
(1) A trustee may adjust between principal and income to the extent the trustee considers necessary if the trustee invests and manages trust assets as a prudent investor, the terms of the trust describe the amount that may or shall be distributed to a beneficiary by referring to the trust’s income, and the trustee determines, after applying the rules in s. 738.103(1), that the trustee is unable to comply with s. 738.103(2).
(2) In deciding whether and to what extent to exercise the power conferred by subsection (1), a trustee shall consider all factors relevant to the trust and its beneficiaries, including the following factors to the extent they are relevant:
(a) The nature, purpose, and expected duration of the trust.
(b) The intent of the grantor.
(c) The identity and circumstances of the beneficiaries.
(d) The needs for liquidity, regularity of income, and preservation and appreciation of capital.
(e) The assets held in the trust; the extent to which the assets consist of financial assets, interests in closely held enterprises, tangible and intangible personal property, or real property; the extent to which an asset is used by a beneficiary; and whether an asset was purchased by the trustee or received from the grantor.
(f) The net amount allocated to income under the other sections of this chapter and the increases or decreases in the value of the principal assets, which the trustee may estimate as to assets for which market values are not readily available.
(g) Whether and to what extent the terms of the trust give the trustee the power to invade principal or accumulate income or prohibit the trustee from invading principal or accumulating income and the extent to which the trustee has exercised a power from time to time to invade principal or accumulate income.
(h) The actual and anticipated effect of economic conditions on principal and income and effects of inflation and deflation.
(i) The anticipated tax consequences of an adjustment.
(3) A trustee may not make an adjustment:
(a) That reduces the actuarial value of the income interest in a trust to which a person transfers property with the intent to qualify for a gift tax exclusion;
(b) That changes the amount payable to a beneficiary as a fixed annuity or a fixed fraction of the value of the trust assets;
(c) From any amount that is permanently set aside for charitable purposes under a will or the terms of a trust unless both income and principal are so set aside;
(d) If possessing or exercising the power to adjust causes an individual to be treated as the owner of all or part of the trust for income tax purposes and the individual would not be treated as the owner if the trustee did not possess the power to adjust;
(e) If possessing or exercising the power to adjust causes all or part of the trust assets to be included for estate tax purposes in the estate of an individual who has the power to remove a trustee or appoint a trustee, or both, and the assets would not be included in the estate of the individual if the trustee did not possess the power to adjust;
(f) If the trustee is a beneficiary of the trust; or
(g) If the trustee is not a beneficiary of the trust but the adjustment would benefit the trustee directly or indirectly, except that in the case of a trustee whose compensation for acting as trustee is based upon the value of trust assets, an adjustment that affects the value of trust assets shall not be deemed to benefit the trustee.
(4) If paragraph (3)(d), paragraph (3)(e), paragraph (3)(f), or paragraph (3)(g) applies to a trustee and there is more than one trustee, a cotrustee to whom the provision does not apply may make the adjustment unless the exercise of the power by the remaining trustee is not permitted by the terms of the trust.
(5) A trustee may release the entire power to adjust conferred by subsection (1) or may release only the power to adjust from income to principal or the power to adjust from principal to income if the trustee is uncertain about whether possessing or exercising the power will cause a result described in paragraphs (3)(a)-(e) or paragraph (3)(g) or if the trustee determines that possessing or exercising the power will or may deprive the trust of a tax benefit or impose a tax burden not described in subsection (3). A release under this subsection may be permanent or for a specified period, including a period measured by the life of an individual.
(6) Terms of a trust that limit a trustee’s power to adjust between principal and income do not affect the application of this section unless it is clear from the terms of the trust that the terms are intended to deny the trustee the power to adjust conferred by subsection (1).
(7) Nothing in this chapter is intended to create or imply a duty to make an adjustment and no inference of impropriety shall be made as a result of a trustee not exercising the power to adjust conferred by subsection (1).
(8) With respect to a trust in existence on January 1, 2003:
(a) A trustee shall not have the power to adjust under this section until the statement required in subsection (9) is provided and either no objection is made or any objection which is made has been terminated.
1. An objection is made if, within 60 days after the date of the statement required in subsection (9), a super majority of the eligible beneficiaries deliver to the trustee a written objection to the application of this section to such trust. An objection shall be deemed to be delivered to the trustee on the date the objection is mailed to the mailing address listed in the notice provided in subsection (9).
2. An objection is terminated upon the earlier of the receipt of consent from a super majority of eligible beneficiaries of the class that made the objection, or the resolution of the objection pursuant to paragraph (c).
(b) An objection or consent under this section may be executed by a legal representative or natural guardian of a beneficiary without the filing of any proceeding or approval of any court.
(c) If an objection is delivered to the trustee, then the trustee may petition the circuit court for an order quashing the objection and vesting in such trustee the power to adjust under this section. The burden will be on the objecting beneficiaries to prove that the power to adjust would be inequitable, illegal, or otherwise in contravention of the grantor’s intent. The court may award costs and attorney’s fees relating to the trustee’s petition in the same manner as in chancery actions. When costs and attorney’s fees are to be paid out of the trust, the court may, in its discretion, direct from which part of the trust they shall be paid.
(d) If no timely objection is made or if the trustee is vested with the power to adjust by court order, the trustee may thereafter exercise the power to adjust without providing notice of its intent to do so unless, in vesting the trustee with the power to adjust, the court determines that unusual circumstances require otherwise.
(e)1. If a trustee makes a good faith effort to comply with the notice provisions of subsection (9), but fails to deliver notice to one or more beneficiaries entitled to such notice, neither the validity of the notice required under this subsection nor the trustee’s power to adjust under this section shall be affected until the trustee has actual notice that one or more beneficiaries entitled to notice were not notified. Until the trustee has actual notice of the notice deficiency, the trustee shall have all of the powers and protections granted a trustee with the power to adjust under this chapter.
2. When the trustee has actual notice that one or more beneficiaries entitled to notice under subsection (9) were not notified, the trustee’s power to adjust under this section shall cease until all beneficiaries who are entitled to such notice, including those who were previously provided with such notice, are notified and given the opportunity to object as provided for under this subsection.
(f) The objection of a super majority of eligible beneficiaries under this subsection shall be valid for a period of 1 year after the date of the notice set forth in subsection (9). Upon expiration of the objection, the trustee may thereafter give a new notice under subsection (9).
(g) Nothing in this section is intended to create or imply a duty of the trustee of a trust existing on January 1, 2003, to seek a power to adjust pursuant to this subsection or to give the notice described in subsection (9) if the trustee does not desire to have a power to adjust under this section, and no inference of impropriety shall be made as the result of a trustee not seeking a power to adjust pursuant to this subsection.
(9)(a) A trustee of a trust in existence on January 1, 2003, that is not prohibited under subsection (3) from exercising the power to adjust shall, any time prior to initially exercising the power, provide to all eligible beneficiaries a statement containing the following:
1. The name, telephone number, street address, and mailing address of the trustee and of any individuals who may be contacted for further information;
2. A statement that unless a super majority of the eligible beneficiaries objects to the application of this section to the trust within 60 days after the date the statement pursuant to this subsection was served, this section shall apply to the trust; and
3. A statement that, if this section applies to the trust, the trustee will have the power to adjust between income and principal and that such a power may have an effect on the distributions to such beneficiary from the trust.
(b) The statement may contain information regarding a trustee’s fiduciary obligations with respect to the power to adjust between income and principal under this section.
(c) The statement referred to in this subsection shall be served informally, in the manner provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure relating to service of pleadings subsequent to the initial pleading. The statement may be served on a legal representative or natural guardian of a beneficiary without the filing of any proceeding or approval of any court.
(d) For purposes of subsection (8) and this subsection, the term:
1. “Eligible beneficiaries” means:
a. If at the time the determination is made there are one or more beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(c), the beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(a) and (c); or
b. If there is no beneficiary described in s. 736.0103(16)(c), the beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(a) and (b).
2. “Super majority of the eligible beneficiaries” means:
a. If at the time the determination is made there are one or more beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(c), at least two-thirds in interest of the beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(a) or two-thirds in interest of the beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(c), if the interests of the beneficiaries are reasonably ascertainable; otherwise, it means two-thirds in number of either such class; or
b. If there is no beneficiary described in s. 736.0103(16)(c), at least two-thirds in interest of the beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(a) or two-thirds in interest of the beneficiaries described in s. 736.0103(16)(b), if the interests of the beneficiaries are reasonably ascertainable, otherwise, two-thirds in number of either such class.
(10) A trust exists on January 1, 2003, if it is not revocable on January 1, 2003. A trust is revocable if revocable by the grantor alone or in conjunction with any other person. A trust is not revocable for purposes of this section if revocable by the grantor only with the consent of all persons having a beneficial interest in the property.
History.s. 1, ch. 2002-42; s. 1, ch. 2003-43; s. 5, ch. 2005-85; s. 40, ch. 2006-217; s. 4, ch. 2012-49; s. 20, ch. 2013-172.