2021 Georgia Code
Title 53 - Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates
Chapter 12 - Trusts
Article 18 - Trust Directors
§ 53-12-504. Directed Trustees; Role; Trustee's Duty as to Directed Trustee; Petitioning Court for Instructions

Universal Citation: GA Code § 53-12-504 (2021)
  1. Unless compliance by the directed trustee would clearly constitute an act committed in bad faith on the part of the directed trustee, a directed trustee shall take reasonable action to comply with a trust director's exercise or nonexercise of a power of direction and shall not be liable for such action. A directed trustee must not comply with a trust director's exercise or nonexercise of a power of direction to the extent that compliance by the directed trustee would clearly constitute an act committed in bad faith.
  2. For purposes of subsection (a) of this Code section, a direction from a trust director shall be within the scope of the trust director's powers of direction if the directed trustee believes in good faith that the direction is within the trust director's powers of direction.
  3. Subject to subsection (f) of this Code section, a directed trustee shall:
    1. Except as provided otherwise in the trust instrument, provide information to a trust director as if the trust director were a beneficiary of an irrevocable trust to whom income is required or authorized in the trustee's discretion to be distributed; and
    2. Respond to reasonable requests from a trust director for information to the extent such information is relevant to the trust director's powers and duties regarding the trust.
  4. A directed trustee acting in reliance on information provided by a trust director shall not be liable for a breach of trust to the extent the breach resulted from such reliance, unless by so acting the directed trustee acts in bad faith.
  5. A trustee shall not be liable for a failure to sufficiently report or provide information to a beneficiary or other party when such failure is related to the failure of a trust director to provide information to the trustee.
    1. Except as otherwise provided in the trust instrument, a trustee shall not have a duty to:
      1. Monitor, investigate, review, or evaluate a trust director, including a trust director's actions or inactions;
      2. Provide any accountings, reports, or other information to a trust director beyond that required by subsection (c) of this Code section;
      3. Advise a trust director regarding the scope, nature, execution, standard of care, potential liability, or other aspects of their status as trust director;
      4. If compliance with a direction from the trust director would constitute an act committed in bad faith, take any action in response to such direction other than the refusal to comply with such direction;
      5. Attempt to compel a trust director to act or not act;
      6. Petition the court regarding a trust director's action, inaction, capacity, or any similar matter; or
      7. Inform or give advice to a settlor, beneficiary, trustee, or trust director concerning an instance in which the trustee might have acted differently from the trust director.
    2. By taking one of the actions described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, a directed trustee does not assume any of the duties excluded by this subsection.
  6. An exercise of a power of direction under which a trust director may release a trustee from liability for breach of trust shall not be effective if the release was induced in bad faith or by the provision of false or incomplete information by the trustee.
  7. A trust instrument may impose a duty or liability on a directed trustee in addition to the duties and liabilities under this Code section.
  8. A directed trustee that has reasonable doubt about a duty imposed by this Code section may petition the court for instructions.

(Code 1981, §53-12-504, enacted by Ga. L. 2018, p. 262, § 25/HB 121; Ga. L. 2020, p. 377, § 1-91/HB 865.)

The 2020 amendment, effective January 1, 2021, in subsection (a), substituted "an act committed in bad faith" for "willful misconduct" and added the last sentence; in subsection (b), substituted "For purposes of subsection (a)" for "Subject to subsection (e)", substituted "direction from a trust director shall be within the scope of the trust director's powers of direction if the directed trustee believes in good faith that the direction is within the trust director's powers of direction" for "shall: (1) Account at least annually to a trust director as if the trust director were a qualified beneficiary of an irrevocable trust to whom income is required or authorized in the trustee's discretion to be distributed; and (2) Respond to reasonable requests from a trust director for information to the extent such information is relevant to the party's interest in or trust director's powers and duties regarding the trust"; added subsections (c) and (h) and redesignated former subsections (c) through (g) as subsections (d) through (g) and (i); substituted "acts in bad faith" for "engages in willful misconduct" in subsection (d); in subsection (f), substituted "subsection (c) of this Code section" for "subsection (b) of this Code Section" in subparagraph (f)(1)(B), substituted "If compliance with a direction from the trust director would constitute an act committed in bad faith, take any action in response to such direction" for "Take any action in response to willful misconduct by the trust director" in subparagraph (f)(1)(D), substituted "from" for "than" in subparagraph (f)(1)(G), and substituted "this subsection" for "this Code section" in paragraph (f)(2); and substituted "in bad faith or by" for "by willful misconduct or" in subsection (g).

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