HB 121: Modernizing Georgia’s Trust Code

HB 121 Modernizing Georgia's Trust Code

Summary: Georgia has updated its trust code. The revisions address minor or unborn beneficiaries, nonjudicial settlement agreements, noncharitable trusts, uneconomic trusts, modifications, directed trusts, virtual representation, trustee’s powers, decanting, and the Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities.

Georgia is taking steps to modernize its trust code and become more competitive with surrounding states. Governor Nathan Deal recently signed HB 121 into law. The legislation, brought on behalf of the Georgia Bar Association’s Fiduciary Law Section, modifies the state’s trust code. It addresses minor or unborn beneficiaries, nonjudicial settlement agreements, noncharitable trusts, and uneconomic trusts. It also adds or revises provisions of the Georgia Trust Code relating to modification, directed trusts, virtual representation, trustee’s powers, and decanting.

Decanting is the process of distributing assets from an old trust to a new trust – one with more favorable terms. It is like pouring liquid from a bottle into a decanter and leaving the unwanted residue (or the unwanted trust terms) behind. Prior to HB 121, trusts established in Georgia could not be decanted. But now, the new law provides the flexibility of changing trusts to something that better meets a person’s needs.

In addition to its original terms, legislators amended HB 121 in committee so as to update the Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities from a 90-year to a 360-year permissible vesting period. The amendments also addressed nonvested property interests and power of appointment, among other items.

Representative Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) sponsored HB 121. Senator Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) carried the bill in the Georgia Senate. Governor Deal signed the legislation on May 3, 2018.

If you are interested in learning more about updates to the Georgia Trust Code and how it could impact your estate planning, contact your Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney at Siedentopf Law by calling (404) 736-6066 or via our form on EstateLawAtlanta.com.

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