Our dedicated Georgia estate planning corporate maintenance and tax strategy law firm guides individuals and business owners to select the right kind of planning opportunities for them. One of the most common vehicles for protecting your professional interests is a trust.

In addition to the other components of a comprehensive estate plan in Georgia, a trust can help to streamline the process of estate planning, maximize tax savings and enable additional layers of control in passing assets onto beneficiaries. Regardless of your decisions for considering a trust, it’s important to understand the different types of trusts available in the state of Georgia.

Trusts Versus Wills

In very basic situations, a last will and testament might be the only document you need for your estate plan. However, the vast majority of families and business owners looking to leverage asset protection planning will be more successful with a multi-faceted estate plan.

Trusts are often the next stage beyond a last will and testament to accomplish these goals. One of the biggest benefits to using a trust for Georgia estate planning is to enable your loved ones to avoid the probate process. Probate can be costly, confusing and overwhelming for your loved ones. Challenges abound for complicated estates in which most of the assets go through the probate process.

These can include delays from financial institutions, difficulty in locating documents, lawyer delays, courthouse delays, and paperwork processing delays. This also assumes that there will be little to no problems with title companies that could be involved with real estate. Trusts are frequently used to expand the kinds of powers offered within a will with Georgia estate planning.

A will does not assist your loved ones if you are still alive but incapacitated since a will only goes into effect in Georgia after the person who created it has passed away. Furthermore, your intentions listed in your will become a matter of public record when your estate enters into Georgia probate. Adding a layer of privacy is another common reason why Georgia families and business owners pursue the use of trusts.

Typical Benefits of Trusts

Your decision about which type of trust to use can be determined after consulting with an experienced Georgia trust planning lawyer. Setting up a trust can help you to accomplish a variety of different goals so you must discuss your intentions with your Georgia estate planning attorney. Some of the common benefits of setting up a trust include:

  • Providing for stepchildren.
  • Reducing court fees, legal expenses, and taxes for your loved ones.
  • Preventing a child’s spouse from accessing and spending an inheritance you intended for your child.
  • Protecting financially irresponsible beneficiaries from themselves.
  • Preventing beneficiary disputes.
  • Enabling for the support of loved ones with special needs without disrupting their eligibility for government benefits.
  • Protecting your own assets from lawsuits and creditors.
  • Minimizing estate taxes.
  • Creating estate privacy.
  • Determining the terms of asset distribution

Understanding How Trusts Function

There are many different kinds of trusts and some might include more stakeholders than others. In general, however, a typical trust in Georgia will involve the person creating the trust, known as the grantor, the corporation or person holding the trust, the trustee, and the person who will ultimately benefit from the assets inside the trust, known as the beneficiary.

One of the major distinctions between different types of trusts in Georgia is testamentary versus living trust. A testamentary trust only goes into effect after you pass away, whereas a living trust can be used during your life. Testamentary trusts are always irrevocable by nature, meaning that they cannot be changed or amended. Living trusts, however, can either be revocable and updatable or irrevocable. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Georgia estate planning lawyer today to learn more about your options.