(1) Any attorney who has rendered services to a trust may be awarded reasonable compensation from the trust. The attorney may apply to the court for an order awarding attorney fees and, after notice and service on the trustee and all beneficiaries entitled to an accounting under s. 736.0813, the court shall enter an order on the fee application.
(2) If attorney fees are to be paid from the trust under subsection (1), s. 736.1007(5)(a), or s. 733.106(4)(a), the court, in its discretion, may direct from what part of the trust the fees shall be paid.
(a) All or any part of the attorney fees to be paid from the trust may be assessed against one or more persons’ part of the trust in such proportions as the court finds to be just and proper.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 736.1005
- Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
- person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
- Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
- writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
(b) In the exercise of its discretion, the court may consider the following factors:
1. The relative impact of an assessment on the estimated value of each person‘s part of the trust.
2. The amount of attorney fees to be assessed against a person’s part of the trust.
3. The extent to which a person whose part of the trust is to be assessed, individually or through counsel, actively participated in the proceeding.
4. The potential benefit or detriment to a person’s part of the trust expected from the outcome of the proceeding.
5. The relative strength or weakness of the merits of the claims, defenses, or objections, if any, asserted by a person whose part of the trust is to be assessed.
6. Whether a person whose part of the trust is to be assessed was a prevailing party with respect to one or more claims, defenses, or objections.
7. Whether a person whose part of the trust is to be assessed unjustly caused an increase in the amount of attorney fees incurred by the trustee or another person in connection with the proceeding.
8. Any other relevant fact, circumstance, or equity.
(c) The court may assess a person’s part of the trust without finding that the person engaged in bad faith, wrongdoing, or frivolousness.
(3) Except when a trustee’s interest may be adverse in a particular matter, the attorney shall give reasonable notice in writing to the trustee of the attorney’s retention by an interested person and the attorney’s entitlement to fees pursuant to this section. A court may reduce any fee award for services rendered by the attorney prior to the date of actual notice to the trustee, if the actual notice date is later than a date of reasonable notice. In exercising this discretion, the court may exclude compensation for services rendered after the reasonable notice date but before the date of actual notice.