What to know about decanting

In the past, Georgia grantors had little recourse if they wanted to change or put an end to an irrevocable trust. To do so, it generally cost a lot of money plus the consent of every beneficiary. However, decanting statutes may make it easier to make changes or cancel an irrevocable trust. The decanting process involves moving assets from the original trust to a second one with modified terms.

The authority for the trustee to take such action may be granted by terms of the original trust. It may also be granted by state decanting statutes or common law. Decanting may be beneficial when the terms of a trust are no longer in the best interests of the beneficiary or others impacted by the trust. For instance, if an individual was to receive payments from the trust, it may not be the best idea to do so if that person has substance abuse issues.

Decanting may be beneficial because it may be done without getting approval from a judge. However, it may be possible to get judicial oversight if desired. Furthermore, beneficiaries may not need to be notified about the decanting. This may reduce the odds of a legal challenge or other problems that may postpone potentially critical changes to a trust.

The use of irrevocable trusts may offer a variety of estate planning benefits, including in some cases the avoidance of lengthy and expensive probate proceedings. However, by design, they are harder to change or cancel. This may present issues that may need the help of legal counsel to resolve in a timely and favorable manner.

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