Trusts are an increasingly popular way of transferring assets from one party to another. They may serve as an alternative to Wills in order to avoid lengthy and costly Probate. They may also work as a way to fund a child’s education or provide funds to a charity.
One of the benefits of a Trust is that they have an element of permanency. However, you retain the right to change or terminate Trusts at will. In most situations, this merely requires you to state in writing that you want to make these changes. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Nelson Elder Car Law can assist you with Trust modification and termination in Georgia.
When modifying or terminating a Trust in Georgia, it is always easier if all parties agree to these changes. These parties include the Trust maker (you), your beneficiaries, and the Trustee. If you anticipate a potential change or termination in the future, you may include a clause in the language of the Trust that allows for these changes. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 53-12-61 outlines this process.
Even if you do not include this provision, the law still allows for a modification or termination through mutual consent. If all parties execute a separate document that outlines these changes, the court will accept this as proof of the modification or termination. By these steps, the parties to a Trust may make any changes they wish if they all agree.
While it is easiest to modify or terminate a Trust in Georgia when all parties are in agreement, it is still possible to act on one’s own. Extraordinary circumstances must exist for a court to modify or terminate a Trust without the consent of all parties.
O.C.G.A. § 53-12-60 states that courts only have this power when the original purpose of the Trust is now invalid. For instance, if the Trust exists to fund a charity that is no longer in existence, it is clear that the document can no longer fulfill its stated purpose. If you are asking for the modification or termination of a Trust, you bear the burden of proving to the court that these changes are necessary. Our team at Nelson Elder Care Law can take the lead in obtaining and presenting this evidence.
By default, under state law, Trusts are permanent documents that remain in effect for the length of their terms. However, the parties to the Trust may make changes at any time if they all agree to those modifications. This may even end a Trust at any point in the future.
Where things become complicated is when not all parties agree. Here, a court may act to change or terminate a Trust only if the original purpose of the document is now impossible. Talking with a member of our team can help you better understand if this option is available. Reach out to Nelson Elder Care Law now to learn more about Trust modification and termination in Georgia.
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