A living trust in Georgia is a document that transfers ownership of some or most of your assets into a trust where you continue to use them until they pass to your beneficiaries after you die. A living trust is a popular estate planning option.
Living trusts in Georgia
A Georgia living trust is set up by the trustor, the person placing assets into the trust. A trustee is chosen who will manage and distribute the assets. It is common to name yourself as trustee, but you can choose anyone. A successor trustee is necessary if you name yourself, so he or she can manage the trust after your death. Assets are managed for your benefit during your life and you continue to live in your home, spend your money, and live as you normally would. After you pass, your beneficiaries receive your assets.
When you create a living trust in Georgia, you can select the assets you want to place in the trust, but IRAs, 401(k)s, and Keough plans are not eligible for placement in a revocable living trust. A revocable trust can be altered or cancelled by you at any time you choose and becomes permanent after your death. An irrevocable trust can never be altered and is a less common choice. Creating a living trust in Georgia protects the assets in the trust from your surviving spouse, if you wish to disinherit him or her.
One of the reasons a revocable living trust is so popular is that assets in the trust do not have to go through probate. If you can place most or all of your assets in trust, no probate proceeding will be necessary at all, saving the cost of an executor and attorney, as well as avoiding the long wait for the probate process to conclude. Georgia has not adopted the Uniform Probate Code and its procedures are not simplified. A revocable living trust Georgia allows your assets to be distributed immediately upon your death if you wish.
Do I need a living trust in Georgia?
A living trust is an option to consider as part of your planning. When you create a living trust in Georgia, you place yourself completely in control of your assets during your life and after your death. While you are alive, you manage and control everything in the trust and you are also able to control your assets after your death. The terms of the trust specify when and how your beneficiaries are gifted your assets and you can set up dates or conditions for disbursement, managing and protecting your family’s future for years to come.
If you die without a will or trust, your assets are distributed by Georgia intestacy statutes which determine which relatives get what.
An additional benefit is privacy. When a will is probated, it goes through a court proceeding and becomes public record. Trusts are completely private and do not need a court to enact them. The terms of the trust, beneficiaries, and assets are not public record. Trusts are also more difficult to contest than wills.
Creating a living trust in Georgia protects not only your assets, but you personally. If you ever become mentally incapacitated, the trust already provides for management of your assets and use of them for your benefit. No conservatorship proceeding may be necessary if the trust has been funded sufficiently.
Living trusts and estate taxes in Georgia
A revocable living trust does not allow you to circumvent estate taxes, however the current federal exemption is $5 million (Georgia has no estate tax) and only estates worth more than that are taxed. If you wish to avoid estate taxes, you should consider an AB, QTIP, or marital trust which passes assets directly from one spouse to another and bypasses estate taxes. Revocable trusts do not allow you to avoid Medicaid spend down.
How to create a living trust in Georgia
A trust document becomes effective once it is prepared in writing and you sign it in the presence of a notary. The next step is to fund the trust by transferring ownership of assets to the name of the trust. Once that step is complete, the trust is up and running.
Revocable living trusts can be a useful way to manage and distribute assets as part of your overall estate plan. Careful planning can provide savings, privacy protection, and peace of mind.
Creating a living trust with LegalZoom is quick and easy. Start by answering a few questions online. LegalZoom will review your answers, create your living trust package and send it to you by mail.