2nd DCA Holds Guardianship Court Cannot Override Decisions of Co-Trustees in Management of Trust Based on Ward’s Beneficial Interest

Posted on March 10, 2016

The Second DCA held in In re Guardianship of Mount, — So. 3d — (Fla. 2d DCA 2016), that unless an action was commenced by the guardianship against the co-trustees, the ward’s beneficial interest in the trust did not give the guardianship court the authority to override the decisions of the co-trustees in the management of the trust.

In the subject case, Rene Giacalone-Mount and Heather Mount (collectively, “Appellants”) as co-trustees of the revocable trust of Ronald Mount (“Trust) appealed the order of the guardianship court which compelled Appellants to return trust funds held in the escrow account of a law firm to the Trust’s primary bank account. Thus, on appeal, the issue before the Second DCA was whether the guardianship court could compel co-trustees of a ward’s revocable trust to return the assets to the guardianship.

The second DCA reversed the decision of the guardianship court, finding that in the absence of an action properly commenced by the guardianship against the co-trustees, the ward’s beneficial interest in the trust does not afford the guardianship court the authority to override the decisions of the co-trustees in the management of the trust. The court cited Cohen v. Friedland, 450 So. 2d 905, 906 (Fla. 3d DCA 1984) and Covenant Trust Co. v. Guardianship of Ihrman, 45 So. 3d 499, 505-06 (Fla 4th DCA 2010) on this point. Therefore, the Court reversed the order compelling Appellants to return the trust funds held in escrow to the Trust’s bank account.

If you or anyone you know is in need of representation in actions involving Guardianship, Probate and/or Trust Disputes, or questions pertaining to such proceedings, please contact The Law Offices of Glenn M. Mednick, P.L., at (954) 315-1154 or gmednick@mednicklawgroup.com.

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