Oct 08, 2023 | Family Law,  

Living Trusts Versus Wills in Georgia


With proper estate planning, you can protect your assets and secure your family’s future after your passing. Like taxes, estate planning shouldn’t wait until the last minute. There are a few ways to protect your assets, and understanding your options may make your decision easier. Learn more about trusts and wills in Georgia and what they accomplish to get started on your estate planning journey.

What Is a Revocable Living Trust?

Also known as a living trust, this method of estate transfer allows you to name a trustee, someone who will manage any assets given to the trust. A trust will direct how your property is distributed after you die or become incapacitated and are created while the benefactor, the person whose property is being transferred, is still alive. Benefactors can change and move around the property until they die or even cancel the trust.

In many instances, a trust’s benefactor will be named a trustee so they can still manage their property until they can no longer work with the trust. As your own trustee, you will maintain control over your assets, and your successor will take over the trust when you become incapacitated or pass away.

What Property is Handled Under a Trust

Trusts can protect certain assets, but there are limits to what can fall under their umbrella. You can place real estate, financial accounts, life insurance, valuable personal items, or high-value collectibles in a trust.

You might also arrange for your trust to take care of your businesses, like sole proprietorships. With partnerships, you can transfer your share of the partnership to a living trust. For limited liability corporations, you might need most of the owners’ approvals before you can place that asset into a trust.

What is a Will in Georgia?

Wills are some of the most well-known estate planning tools, but they are often a little more complex than what’s portrayed on TV or in movies.

Wills are used to distribute assets after your death. You can name your beneficiaries, direct how your will’s executor transfers property or inheritance, record your final wishes, and even edit the will until your death, as long as you follow the law.

Are There Benefits for Both Trusts and Wills?

While trusts and wills protect assets after your death, they each carry different benefits and drawbacks. For instance, a will is subject to probate: Once you die, your will is reviewed in court to ensure property is divided equitably. A trust is not subject to probate.

Avoiding probate may be something to consider if you’re hoping to keep some assets out of the public eye. When a will is reviewed in a probate court, its contents become public record. A trust will keep your assets private.

Wills can direct guardianship of minor children, but trusts cannot. Trusts can protect assets and estates from certain taxes while wills cannot. Although wills must go through probate, they have a much lower up-front cost. Trusts generally are more complicated and expensive: costs can depend on how much property you’re transferring and how complex the document is. An experienced attorney can help to make sure your trust is handled properly.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Knowing what a will or a trust can accomplish can give you a good starting place, but these aren’t matters to tackle alone. Drafting a will without legal help could leave your estate – and your loved ones – vulnerable.

An experienced Marietta estate planning attorney is going to understand the requirements and outcomes of both methods. They can create wills and trusts according to your needs. Your attorney will also be able to transfer your assets and assign beneficiaries more efficiently and effectively. You may have a difficult time keeping track of relatives or other considerations when it comes to your property. A Cobb County estate planning attorney will be able to review your decisions and provide guidance when necessary.

You should also find an attorney you can trust to ensure the wills and trusts are executed properly. They can help you correctly draft, complete, sign, and file your forms.

Can You Contest Wills & Trusts?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Wills and trusts can be contested, even if you think you have checked everything correctly. Some relatives may argue they were wrongfully excluded from the will, or someone may think a trust is being incorrectly drafted.

A Marietta estate planning attorney can ensure these details are covered and work to make your documents airtight.

Call The Gentry Law Firm Today

Taking necessary precautions to protect your assets and your family’s future is critical. Turn to an experienced and caring estate planning attorney who can empathize with your concerns while creating strong documents to help your estate.

The Gentry Law Firm is ready to hear your case and work with you. Attorney William C. Gentry has practiced family law for decades and is ready to use his extensive experience to help you provide a future for your loved ones. We can handle these delicate matters while defending your assets.

Call (770) 425-5573 or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.