May 21, 2010
ATLANTA—Georgia State University College of Law Professor Mary Radford has spent much of the past decade helping to revise the state's Trust Code. But now she can close this chapter of work.
A Georgia bill introducing a revised Georgia Trust Code passed on the last day of the state legislative session late last month. Once signed by the governor, the new provisions will become law. The bill was co-sponsored by College of Law alumnus Sen. Bill Hamrick. Rep. Wendell Willard was instrumental in the bill's passage by the House of Representatives.
Two of the biggest changes include providing trustees with automatic and broader powers to deal with trust property and allowing people to create trusts for their pets.
"The beneficiaries of trusts are often children of deceased or incapacitated adults," Radford said. "Now people can set up trusts for their beloved four legged friends, knowing they will be well cared for when the pet owner dies or is otherwise unable to provide that care."
Many of the changes are "clarifications and technical changes important to the field of trust law," Radford added. With the enactment of this new code, she said, "Georgia will now have one of the most sophisticated and thorough set of trust laws in the United States."
As reporter for the Georgia Trust Code Revision Committee of the State Bar of Georgia–which was charged with revising the code–Radford began her work in July, 2003. In the years that followed, the committee examined each section of the Georgia Trust Act, which had been enacted in 1991 with the help of College of Law Professor Anne Emanuel.
The new bill was first introduced last year. After some minor legislative amendments and other tweaks to the bill, it passed on April 29 and now awaits the signature of Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Renee DeGross Valdes, 404-413-1353