2005 Florida Statutes
Judicial control of discretionary powers.
738.105 Judicial control of discretionary powers.--
(1) A court shall not change a fiduciary's decision to exercise or not to exercise a discretionary power conferred by this chapter unless the court determines that the decision was an abuse of the fiduciary's discretion. A court shall not determine that a fiduciary abused its discretion merely because the court would have exercised the discretion in a different manner or would not have exercised the discretion.
(2) The decisions to which subsection (1) applies include:
(a) A determination under s. 738.104(1) of whether and to what extent an amount should be transferred from principal to income or from income to principal.
(b) A determination of the factors that are relevant to the trust and trust beneficiaries, the extent to which such factors are relevant, and the weight, if any, to be given to the relevant factors, in deciding whether and to what extent to exercise the power conferred by s. 738.104(1).
(3) If a court determines that a fiduciary has abused its discretion, the remedy shall be to restore the income and remainder beneficiaries to the positions they would have occupied if the fiduciary had not abused its discretion, according to the following rules:
(a) To the extent the abuse of discretion has resulted in no distribution to a beneficiary or a distribution that is too small, the court shall require the fiduciary to distribute from the trust to the beneficiary an amount the court determines will restore the beneficiary, in whole or in part, to his or her appropriate position.
(b) To the extent the abuse of discretion has resulted in a distribution to a beneficiary that is too large, the court shall restore the beneficiaries, the trust, or both, in whole or in part, to their appropriate positions by requiring the fiduciary to withhold an amount from one or more future distributions to the beneficiary who received the distribution that was too large or requiring that beneficiary to return some or all of the distribution to the trust.
(c) To the extent the court is unable, after applying paragraphs (a) and (b), to restore the beneficiaries, the trust, or both, to the positions they would have occupied if the fiduciary had not abused its discretion, the court may require the fiduciary to pay an appropriate amount from its own funds to one or more of the beneficiaries or the trust or both.
(4) Upon the filing of a petition by the fiduciary, the court having jurisdiction over the trust or estate shall determine whether a proposed exercise or nonexercise by the fiduciary of a discretionary power conferred by this chapter will result in an abuse of the fiduciary's discretion. If the petition describes the proposed exercise or nonexercise of the power and contains sufficient information to inform the beneficiaries of the reasons for the proposal, the facts upon which the fiduciary relies, and an explanation of how the income and remainder beneficiaries will be affected by the proposed exercise or nonexercise of the power, a beneficiary who challenges the proposed exercise or nonexercise has the burden of establishing that such exercise or nonexercise will result in an abuse of discretion.
(5) If an action is instituted alleging an abuse of discretion in the exercise or nonexercise of the power of adjustment conferred by s. 738.104(1) and the court determines that no abuse of discretion has occurred, the trustee's costs and attorney's fees incurred in defending the action shall be paid from the trust assets.
History.--s. 1, ch. 2002-42.