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Terminating Trusts In Florida 101


Given the complicated (and often, convoluted) nature of the Florida Probate process, it stands to reason that many individuals choose to create a Trust as part of their estate plan. In earlier posts this blog has already gone through the merits of creating such a trust, and the time and money the estate-planning tool can save individuals. But what if someone is not seeking to create a trust – but to terminate one? This blog post will generally discuss reasons why an individual may wish to terminate a trust, who can terminate that trust, and factors you should anticipate the court will take into consideration when deciding to terminate a trust.

 Reasons a Trust Might Be Terminated

There are a litany of reasons that an individual may choose to terminate a trust. These might include:

  • The Trustee no longer wants to operate as the Trustee
  • The Trustee concludes that the value of the property under the trust is insufficient to justify the various costs of administering the trust
  • The Beneficiaries under the trust no longer want the trust
  • The Settlor has died
  • The term of the trust expired 

Who Can Terminate the Trust?

The “Settlor” of a Florida Trust is the individual who created the trust. Typically, this individual will have complete control over the trust and may move to have it be dissolved.

Under certain circumstances, the Trustee of a Trust that consists of property valued at less than $50,000 may move to terminate the trust if that Trustee concludes that the value of the property under the trust does not sufficiently justify the costs of administering the trust.

Alternatively, a Florida court itself may also terminate the trust. The court may choose to do so if it finds that it is in the best interest of the beneficiaries for the trust to be terminated.

What happens When the Trust is Terminated?

If a trust is terminated Under Florida Trust Code Chapter 736.0414, the trustee is directed to distribute the trust property in a way that is consistent with the provisions/purposes of the trust. The statute provides that the Trustee has authority to enter into agreements that the Trustee believes to be necessary or appropriate to protect the beneficiaries’ interests, and to carry out the intentions and purpose of the trust. For example, if the trust was created to preserve assets for Grandson “A,” it would be incumbent upon the trustee to ensure that the property under the trust was distributed in a manner that works toward Grandson “A” receiving the benefit of the property under the trust.

Contact Suncoast Civil Law

The experienced, capable wills and probate attorneys at Suncoast Civil Law have diverse experiences in helping clients through the wills and estates process at every level, and we often help our clients navigate the muddy waters of probate. When issues arise in the course of probate or estate administration, our team aggressively defends our client’s interests while diligently working to resolve matters quickly and efficiently. If you need help, call the Sarasota wills & probate lawyers at Suncoast Civil Law today for a free consultation.


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