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Can a revocable trust ease estate administration and probate?

Georgia residents have many tools at their disposal when it comes to planning for taking care of their families after death. One such tool is a revocable trust. Using this type of trust could ease the estate administration and probate process.

A revocable trust is created during a Georgia resident's lifetime. Married individuals may create a joint trust. That individual -- and spouse, if any -- may serve as the grantor (creator), beneficiary and trustee if he or she so chooses.

As many assets as possible should be transferred into the trust. The individual retains the use of those assets during his or her lifetime. This should include changing beneficiary designations on assets such as retirement accounts and insurance policies.

The trust can be named as the beneficiary of the accounts, so the proceeds go into the trust upon death. In addition, when the individual passes away, the specified successor trustee takes over the administration of the trust, including the distribution of assets in accordance with its terms. The assets contained in the trust do not pass through probate. This allows the new beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust to have immediate access to those assets, depending on the terms of the document.

Before taking any steps to create such a trust, a discussion with an estate-planning attorney regarding whether this provides the best option for a particular set of circumstances needs to take place. If everyone agrees, then the trust can be drafted, created and funded. Family members would have some peace of mind that the process of estate administration and probate will go more smoothly.

Source:, "Easing the Burden: Estate planning, the revocable trust", Isabell Mueller, March 25, 2017

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