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Estate administration & probate is avoided by living trust

In some Georgia estate plans, a living trust is established to administer assets during the benefactor's life. The revocable living trust avoids estate administration & probate with respect to the assets that have been placed in the trust. At death, the trust is administered according to its terms by the trustee.

The trustee is the person or entity appointed by the trust owner to administer the trust in accordance with its terms. Some estate plans establish trusts with provisions for a so-called "trust protector." This may also be referred to as a special co-trustee in some states. When trustees and beneficiaries might disagree about trust terms and about how the trustee is managing the trust, the trust protector is a neutral person who is available to step forward and give an opinion on the trust terms and what they mean.

Therefore, the trust protector idea is an attempt to have a built-in second opinion in the trust terms so that there may be a greater chance of resolving a problem prior to going to litigation. Usually, the trust protector has no role in the trust activities. He or she only has authority when the trustee and beneficiaries are arguing over a trust provision. 

The trust itself can restrict or otherwise define the precise contours of the trust protector's powers. The trust creator will thus be able to provide the wording that he or she want while still alive. The trust protector may also be given broader powers to take various actions with respect to the trust, if the trust creator prefers to have a strong trust protector type of safeguard. In Georgia and other jurisdictions, it is best to discuss the trust protector provisions with one's estate planning attorney and to decide on the provisions desired after that informative conference takes place.

Source: yumasun.com, "Estate Planning: Who oversees a trust administration?", Shawn Garner, Aug. 8, 2016

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