Florida Statute 736.0306 allows a settlor of a Florida trust to appoint a “designated representative” to receive notices, information, accountings, and reports on behalf of the trust beneficiaries. Information given to the designated representative serves as a substitute for, and has the same effect as, sending such information to the beneficiary directly, and actions taken, or omissions made, by the designated representative bind the beneficiary. A designated representative is not a fiduciary and is not liable for acts or omissions made in good faith, and there is no conflict of interest limitation to the designated representative’s authority as there is for most other forms of representation under the Florida Trust Code, except that there are restrictions on who may serve as a designated representative.
The designated representative may be appointed by name in the trust or the trust may provide a mechanism for the appointment (e.g., a majority of the adult “qualified beneficiaries” may appoint the designated representative). There are two limitations concerning the appointment of a designated representative which may not be overridden by the trust terms. First, the designated representative may not be the trustee nor may the trustee appoint the designated representative. Second, a beneficiary may serve as the designated representative only if expressly appointed by the settlor (e.g., by name) or, if appointed pursuant to a trust mechanism, such beneficiary is a close relative to the beneficiaries that will be represented.
A settlor may desire to use a designated representative for trusts where privacy is a concern, trusts for beneficiaries whose knowledge of the trust may be detrimental to the beneficiaries, trusts with minor beneficiaries, or trusts where there are numerous beneficiaries. A settlor may also want to use a designated representative to protect the trustee since the designated representative expressly appointed by the settlor can represent and bind all beneficiaries, not just those “qualified beneficiaries” to whom the trustee may be required to account or provide notice.