If the trustee does not want to sell or use the house, she can rent it to someone. If you are the lessee, you must have a rental agreement and pay fair market value for the rent, plus utilities. If your mother does not want to be a landlord but does not want to sell the house (the market in Florida will go up - but no one knows when), perhaps she should resign as trustee and let the successor trustee administer the trust. The trustee is a fiduciary and it is the trustee's responsibility to take care of all of the assets of the trust for the benefit of all beneficiaries.
I agree with Attorney McMahon. Your mother actually has a legal duty to administer the Trust (which includes management and disposition of trust assets) in a manner consistent with the terms of the trust document. If she feels uncomfortable fulfilling that role, then perhaps she would want to step down and/or appoint a successor Trustee. The process for either will generally be laid out in the trust document.
If you are entitled to the income of the Trust, then you should be able to live in the house. If, on the other hand, you are not entitled to income, then you would have to do as Ms. Bradenton says and you would have to become an actual fair-market value tenant. Otherwise, you (and your mother) could be violating the terms of the trust.
More than anything, you should look at the trust document (or have an attorney do the same) and you will likely find the information that you seek. It is common for a trust to hold property such as a house and to specifically describe the beneficiary's rights and obligations for use the house.
Hope this helps and best of luck!
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I agree with both of my colleagues. The problem with anyone answering questions like this is that we do not have enough in the way of facts. The terms of the trust are likely to address your questions. If the trust is silent on these issues, then State law applies. Since your mother has an attorney who is very familiar with the trust provisions, he is the best person to direct these questions to.
Your summary does not have enough information for us to give you a complete answer. Your mother DOES owe fiduciary duties to the trust beneficiaries. The situation is a lot different, however, if she is the only beneficiary during her lifetime. Since you asked about selling the property, presumably, she has the right to do that. Since you appear to love the property, rather than renting it, it might make sense for you to buy it from the trust. The trust might be able to finance your purchase. If you are a beneficiary of the trust upon your mother's death, you would receive a portion of the purchase price back, as well. In the meantime, you would be able to take advantage of homestead laws, and you would be eligible for tax deductions that you would not have as a renter.
Your mother should consult her attorney to determine how best to proceed. The situation is a lot different if your mother has a 2% interest in the trust and she needs to manage the trust assets for the benefit of the other 98%. The facts often drive the choice of which option is best.
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As both of my colleagues pointed out, regardless of her relationship to you, the Trustee is bound by her agreement to administer the trust in the manner directed by the trust and for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Since there is another beneficiary, the Trustee cannot just proceed without consideration of that party - solely for your benefit. Moving in without a rental agreement and without paying value for your occupancy will run counter to the best interests of the other beneficiary unless they disclaim their share.
Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : firstname.lastname@example.org : Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.