How To Set Up A Living Trust In Georgia

How To Set Up A Living Trust In Georgia - What Is A Living Trust In Georgia - How Much Does A Living Trust Cost In Georgia

Let’s talk about how to set up a living trust in Georgia.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • how to set up a living trust 
  • how to transfer property into a living trust 
  • how much does a living trust cost
  • what are the downsides to a living trust

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

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What Is A Living Trust In Georgia

A living trust in Georgia is an arrangement that allows you to manage and distribute your assets during your lifetime and after your passing. 

Living trusts are also known as revocable living trusts or inter vivos trusts.

It is established by a legal document called a trust agreement.

It is created by a grantor to hold and manage their assets for the benefit of themselves and their chosen beneficiaries. 

Here are the key elements and features of a living trust in Georgia:

  • Revocability: A living trust in Georgia is typically revocable, which means the grantor can make changes, amend, or even revoke the trust at any time during their lifetime, as long as they are mentally competent.
  • Trustee: The grantor appoints a trustee, who can be the grantor themselves or another trusted individual or entity. The trustee is responsible for managing and administering the trust assets according to the trust agreement’s terms.
  • Beneficiaries: The trust agreement specifies the beneficiaries who will ultimately receive the trust assets after the grantor’s passing. Beneficiaries can include family members, friends, or charitable organizations.
  • Assets: Living trusts can hold a wide range of assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, personal property, and more. Assets transferred to the trust are considered trust property.
  • Privacy: Unlike a will, which becomes a public document when probated, the terms of a living trust remain private, providing confidentiality to the grantor and beneficiaries.

Read More: Do I Need A Trust To Avoid Probate

How To Set Up A Living Trust In Georgia

Here’s a general guide on how to set up a revocable living trust in Georgia:

  • Determine Your Goals: Before setting up a living trust, clarify your objectives and the purpose of the trust. Consider who the beneficiaries will be, which assets you want to include, and how you want the trust assets to be managed and distributed.
  • Choose a Trustee: Select a trustee who will be responsible for managing and administering the trust. The trustee can be you, a family member, a trusted friend, or a professional trustee. You can also name a successor trustee to step in if the primary trustee becomes unable or unwilling to serve.
  • Draft the Trust Agreement: Your attorney will draft the trust agreement, which is the legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the trust. This document specifies the trust’s purpose, the beneficiaries, the trustee’s powers and responsibilities, and the distribution instructions.
  • Fund the Trust: To fund the trust, you must transfer property into the trust. This typically involves re-titling assets such as real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property in the name of the trust. Your trust attorney can assist with the asset transfer process.
  • Sign the Trust Agreement: After drafting and reviewing the trust agreement with your attorney, you will sign the document in the presence of a notary public. Witnesses may also be required, depending on the trust’s terms and Georgia law.
  • Notify Financial Institutions: Inform banks, financial institutions, and relevant parties about the existence of the trust and provide them with a copy of the trust agreement. This helps ensure that the trust assets are properly managed.
  • Manage the Trust: While you are alive and mentally competent, you can act as the trustee and manage the trust assets as you see fit. If you become incapacitated, the successor trustee you’ve named can take over without the need for court intervention.
  • Review and Update: Periodically review and update the trust to ensure it continues to align with your wishes and any changes in your financial situation or family circumstances.
  • Estate Planning Documents: Consider how the living trust fits into your overall estate plan. You may also need other estate planning documents, such as a pour-over will, durable power of attorney, and advance healthcare directive.
  • Inform Beneficiaries: It’s a good practice to inform the beneficiaries of the trust about their status and provide them with copies of relevant trust documents.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure that all aspects of the trust, including asset transfers and trust management, comply with Georgia state law and any federal regulations that may apply.

Read More: Does Your House Have To Be Paid Off To Put It In A Trust

How To Transfer Property Into A Living Trust In Georgia

Putting property into a living trust in Georgia has steps to legally retitle the property in the name of the trust. 

This process helps ensure that the property is governed by the terms of the trust.

It also helps avoid probate upon your passing. 

Here’s a guide on how to transfer property into a living trust in Georgia:

  • Identify the Property: Determine which properties you want to transfer into the living trust. This can include real estate (such as your primary residence, vacation home, or rental property), bank accounts, investments, vehicles, and personal property.
  • Review the Trust Agreement: Carefully review the trust agreement to understand its terms and how the property should be transferred. The trust agreement should specify the trust’s name and the role of the trustee.
  • Prepare a Deed for Real Estate: For real estate, you’ll need to prepare a new deed that transfers ownership from your name to the living trust. This deed is typically called a “quitclaim deed” or “warranty deed.” Consult with your attorney to determine the appropriate type of deed and to draft the deed correctly.
  • Execute the Deed: Sign the deed transferring the real estate in the presence of a notary public. Depending on Georgia law and the trust’s terms, witnesses may also be required. Your attorney can guide you through the proper execution process.
  • Record the Deed: After it’s executed, the deed must be recorded in the county where the property is located. Contact the county’s Clerk of Superior Court or Recorder’s Office for information on the recording process and fees.
  • Update Ownership Records: For other assets such as bank accounts, investments, and vehicles, contact the relevant financial institutions and agencies to update the ownership records. They may require a copy of the trust agreement or a certification of trust, which is a condensed version of the trust.
  • Maintain Records: Keep thorough records of the property transfers, including copies of deeds, trust documents, and correspondence with financial institutions. This documentation can be crucial for future reference.
  • Notify Relevant Parties: Inform insurance companies, property tax authorities, and any other entities that may need to be notified of the property transfer.

Read More: How Much Do Trusts Cost?

How Much Does A Living Trust Cost In Georgia

Here is how much a living trust costs based on the complexity of your living trust:

  • DIY Trust: $50 – $350
  • Simple Trust: $1,000 – $3,000
  • Complex Trust: $5,000+

On average, you will pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars to make a living trust. 

For a relatively straightforward living trust with a single grantor, a few assets, and standard provisions, the cost may range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.

Let’s say your estate is more complex.

For example, maybe you have multiple assets, or you require customized trust provisions.

The cost can be higher, often ranging from $5,000+.

Read More: How Much Does A Living Trust Cost?

Living Trust vs. Will In Georgia

For estate planning in Georgia, individuals have the option to choose between:

Each option has its advantages and considerations.

The choice between a living trust and a will depends on individual circumstances and preferences. 

Here is a comparison of a living trust vs. a will in Georgia:

Living Trust:

  • Avoidance of Probate: One of the primary advantages of a living trust is that it can help assets pass to beneficiaries without going through probate court. Probate can be time-consuming and costly, and a living trust can provide a quicker and more private method of asset distribution.
  • Incapacity Planning: A living trust allows for the seamless management of assets if the grantor becomes incapacitated. The successor trustee can step in to manage trust assets without the need for court intervention.
  • Privacy: The terms and details of a living trust remain private, unlike a will, which becomes a public record when probated. This offers greater confidentiality for the grantor and beneficiaries.
  • Asset Management: The grantor can specify detailed instructions for asset management and distribution in the trust agreement, providing more control over how assets are handled.
  • Flexibility: Living trusts can be structured to accommodate various assets and beneficiaries, making them flexible for individuals with complex estates or specific wishes.


  • Simplicity: Creating a will is generally less complex and more straightforward than establishing a living trust. It may be a suitable choice for individuals with relatively simple estates.
  • Cost: Wills are often less expensive to create than living trusts, making them an attractive option for those on a budget.
  • Nomination of Guardians: A will allows you to nominate guardians for minor children, providing guidance on their care if you pass away.
  • Distribution of Personal Property: Wills can specify the distribution of personal property, including sentimental items, to specific beneficiaries.
  • Backup Document: Even if you have a living trust, a will can serve as a backup document to address any assets that were not transferred to the trust or other contingencies.

Read More: What Assets Cannot Be Placed In A Trust?

What Is The Downside Of A Living Trust?

While living trusts offer many benefits in estate planning, there are also some downsides of a living trust to think about. 

These downsides primarily depend on individual circumstances and goals. 

Here are some potential downsides of a living trust:

  • Initial Cost: Setting up a living trust can be more expensive than creating a simple will. The cost typically includes attorney fees for drafting the trust agreement and potentially transferring assets into the trust.
  • Asset Transfer Process: Transferring assets into the trust can be administratively burdensome and may require changing the titles of assets, updating beneficiary designations, and re-registering certain accounts. This process can take time and effort.
  • Continued Management: While you’re alive and serving as the trustee of your living trust, you must actively manage trust assets. This includes ensuring that new assets are properly titled in the trust’s name.
  • Potential for Oversight: If you forget to transfer an asset into the trust, it might not be covered by the trust’s terms and could be subject to probate. Regularly reviewing and updating the trust is essential.
  • No Guardianship Provisions: A living trust typically does not address the issue of guardianship for minor children. If you have minor children, a will is still necessary to nominate guardians.
  • Complexity: Living trusts can be more complex than wills, especially for individuals with simple estates. Simplicity can be an advantage for some people.
  • Limited Tax Benefits: In Georgia and many other states, living trusts do not provide significant tax benefits. They do not offer federal estate tax savings for most individuals.
  • Perceived Lack of Control: Some individuals may feel that transferring assets into a trust limits their control over those assets, although they retain significant control during their lifetime as the trustee.
  • No Public Record: While privacy is generally a benefit, the lack of a public record may mean that beneficiaries or heirs are less informed about the details of the trust, potentially leading to misunderstandings or disputes.

Read More: What Are The Disadvantages Of Putting Your House In A Trust?

Who Owns The Property In A Revocable Trust

The grantor is the legal owner of the property both before and after transferring it into the revocable trust. 

This means that they have the right to buy, sell, use, or manage the property as they see fit.

In a revocable trust, the grantor often also serves as the initial trustee, maintaining control over the trust assets. 

As trustee, the grantor continues to manage and use the property as if it were not in the trust.

While the grantor is alive and mentally competent, they are typically the primary beneficiary of the revocable trust. 

This means that they can enjoy the benefits of the trust assets.

It’s important to note that the revocable trust is a legal entity separate from the grantor, and the trust itself is the recipient of the property. 

Because the grantor maintains ownership and control, there is no change in their ability to use or manage the property once it’s placed in the trust.

Read More: What Happens To An Irrevocable Trust When The Grantor Dies?

Protect Your Assets And Pay Minimal Taxes

If you want a living trust, fill out the form below. 

At The Hive Law, we understand the importance of:

  • protecting your hard-earned assets 
  • ensuring your family’s future
  • not losing everything to creditors and lawsuits
  • properly (and legally) distributing assets 

We only accommodate a limited number of clients each month.

So don’t miss your opportunity to work with our trust fund lawyers.

Benefits of our trust services:

  • Tailored solutions to fit your unique needs and goals
  • Expert guidance in navigating complex tax and legal matters
  • Preservation of your wealth for future generations
  • Streamlined asset distribution according to your wishes

Avoid the pitfalls of inadequate estate planning strategies:

  • Creditors seizing your assets
  • Lawsuits jeopardizing your family’s financial security
  • Family disputes over inheritance
  • Costly and time-consuming probate processes

Talk soon.

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