What is a Beneficiary?

To understand if you are a beneficiary under a will or trust, it is important to understand what  beneficiary means.

A beneficiary is, in general terms,  a natural person or other legal entity who receives money or other benefit from another, the benefactor.

In trust litigation, a beneficiary is the person or persons who are entitled to the benefit of any trust arrangement.  Typically, the beneficiary is a natural person, but companies or charity organizations may be named.

A beneficiary may be an adult, a minor, person with special needs or mental disability, or unborn children.

What rights do you have as a Beneficiary?

The rights of a beneficiary are set forth in the Florida Probate Code, the Florida Probate Rules, and in relevant case law.

The laws in place are meant to keep you informed about the probate administration and ensure the decedent’s wishes are fulfilled according to his intent.

A Personal Representative, named in the Will, trust, or by court-appointment, is the person in charge of ensuring the property distributions are carried out according to the decedent’s instructions.  The personal representative owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries.

Some of the rights and duties owed to the beneficiary:

  1. Right to view a true copy of the Will, F.S. 732.901.
  2. Right to receive a Notice of Administration, F.S. 733.212.
  3. Right to an inventory of the estate.  The inventory must be filed within sixty (60) days following the personal representative’s appointment and receipt of his or her Letters of Administration. 
  4. Right to contest the validity of the Will offered to Probate.  If you have received a Notice of Administration, you have three months from the date of your receipt of the Notice to challenge the testamentary documents. 
  5. Right to Petition for the removal of the Personal Representative, F.S. 733.506.
  6. Right to an accounting of all assets.
  7. Right to petition for an interim distribution, F.S. 733.612(26).
  8. Right to receive an inventory of any safety deposit boxes.
  9. Right to petition for determination of homestead status of any real property.
  10. Right to petition for a decrease in the Personal Representative or Trustee’s compensation, F.S. 733.617.

Please note, this information is not intended to serve as legal advice and is only general information. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal needs.  Please consult with a probate litigation attorney to discuss the specific facts and issues in your case.

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