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Georgia Living Trust Form – Irrevocable & Revocable

The Georgia living trust is a legal form used when an individual wishes to dictate how their personal assets will be distributed after they die. A living trust operates similarly to a will, however, unlike a will, the items placed within the trust are not subject to the complex probate process. The creator of the trust, known as the “Grantor,” will nominate a Trustee to manage the trust. If the trust is Revocable, The Grantor may choose to act as his/her own Trustee and consequently be able to manage the trust during their existence. Alternatively, a Grantor may elect a separate individual as Trustee which will transfer control of their assets over to that person. Following the Grantor’s death, the assets placed within the trust will immediately be given to the Beneficiaries.

LawsTitle 53, Chapter 12 (Trusts)

Will (Last Will and Testament) – If the Grantor does not include certain property in the trust, it will be distributed to the heirs as defined in the Will. All assets in the Will are subject to the probate process.

Types

Irrevocable Living Trust – The Grantor transfers all ownership of their real estate and property to the trust which in turn provides certain advantages, such as protection from estate tax. All provisions established within the trust may not be altered by the Grantor.

Revocable Living Trust – Can be modified by the Grantor should he/she wish to nominate new beneficiaries, place additional items in the trust, etc. This trust type permits the Grantor to act as Trustee.

Individual Roles

In both Revocable and Irrevocable trusts, there are four (4) major roles:

Grantor (or “Settlor”) – Person creating the trust and original owner of the real estate and property placed in the trust.

Trustee – As manager of the trust, the Trustee is required to manage the Grantor’s assets and distribute them upon their death. The Grantor may also act as Trustee if the trust is Revocable.

Successor Trustee – In charge of managing the trust should the initial Trustee become unfit to do so (death, incapacitation).

Beneficiaries – Person(s) chosen by the Grantor to benefit from the assets placed in the trust.

How to Make a Living Trust in Georgia

Under Title 53, Chapter 12, Article 2, § 53-12-20, it states that in order to create a trust in Georgia, the Grantor needs to express with reasonable certainty their intent to create the trust before listing the property, Beneficiaries, and the Successor Trustee. The primary Trustee, or the individual who will be the caretaker of the assets once the document is set up, will need to sign the form with an acceptance statement of their duties (§ 53-12-202). After reaching the aforementioned requirements, a Notary Public should be present to preserve the document’s validity.

Motor Vehicle – A Georgia Bill of Sale must be used to transfer ownership to the trust. You must also ensure that the DMV’s requirements have been met (contact your local Georgia DMV).

Real Estate – All property that is named in the trust must be transferred in accordance with § 53-12-25 and authenticated with a Georgia Deed. The deed must be recorded in the Clerk of the Superior Court where deeds are filed in Georgia.

Websites – The administration and contact information on file with your registrar must be altered so that it reflects the transference of ownership.

Do I Need a Living Trust in Georgia?

If you are looking to provide certain assets and property to specific individuals and avoid the probate process, a trust is the only form that allows this shortcut. That being said, there is the option of taking a risk with the Small Estate Affidavit. The State of Georgia, unlike other States, does not specify an exact amount which the Grantor’s assets must be valued below in order for the Heirs of an estate to avoid the probate process. You can use the Small Estate Affidavit, per § 53-2-40, as long as the “Heirs are able to agree upon a division of the estate among themselves”. All this is to say that the only certain way to avoid probate is by having a trust.

Bank Accounts – If an individual has no real assets or property and less than $10,000 in their bank account, a trust is not necessary as the Heirs may file a Small Estate for Bank Accounts Only.

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