How to Use Trusts Inside Your Will: Testamentary Trusts for Minors

A trust within a Will is called a Testamentary Trust. This type of trust can be created to help any beneficiary(s) manage their inheritance. Once the Executor of your Will collects your probate assets and pays any debts, they can distribute any designated funds to the trustee of your testamentary trust. Then, that trustee will, under terms within your Will, manage the funds for your beneficiaries.

The most commonly known testamentary trust is a trust for minors. Children under the age of 18 cannot claim an inheritance. Without a trust, if a minor inherits less than $25,000, the Executor can give the funds directly to their parent on their behalf. If a minor inherits more than $25,000, their parent or guardian would need to petition the probate court to become the child’s conservator in order to manage the funds until they turn 18. The best way to avoid conservatorship and extra court reporting, is to include a testamentary trust in your Will.

Under a testamentary trust, the trustee named in the Will would manage the inheritance for the child until a predetermined future date. That date may be, at the earliest, when the beneficiary turns 18. After that date, the trust would end, and all funds would be paid out to the beneficiary. Though 18 is the youngest possible age, you may pick an older age and/or schedule incremental payouts at certain ages. Under the terms of the testamentary trust, you may also instruct the Trustee to use the funds in the trust for healthcare, education, maintenance, or support of the beneficiary. The possibilities of how a testamentary trust functions are limited only by your imagination (and applicable Georgia law) and the terms you include in your Will.