2021 Georgia Code
Title 53 - Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates
Chapter 12 - Trusts
Article 9 - Charitable Trusts
§ 53-12-170. Definition; Charitable Purposes

Universal Citation: GA Code § 53-12-170 (2021)
  1. A charitable trust is a trust in which the settlor provides that the trust property shall be used exclusively for charitable purposes.
  2. Charitable purposes shall include:
    1. The relief of poverty;
    2. The advancement of education;
    3. The advancement of ethics and religion;
    4. The advancement of health;
    5. The advancement of science and the arts and humanities;
    6. The protection and preservation of the environment;
    7. The improvement, maintenance, or repair of cemeteries, other places of disposition of human remains, and memorials;
    8. The prevention of cruelty to animals;
    9. Governmental purposes; and
    10. Other similar subjects having for their object the relief of human suffering or the promotion of human civilization.

(Code 1981, §53-12-170, enacted by Ga. L. 2010, p. 579, § 1/SB 131; Ga. L. 2020, p. 377, § 1-80/HB 865.)

The 2020 amendment, effective January 1, 2021, inserted "exclusively" in subsection (a) and deleted former subsection (c), which read: "If the settlor provides for both charitable and noncharitable purposes, the provisions relating to the charitable purposes shall be governed by this article.".

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Rule Against Perpetuities as Applied to Georgia Wills and Trusts," see 16 Ga. L. Rev. 235 (1982). For note on discriminatory charitable trusts in Georgia, with regard to application of the cy pres doctrine, in light of Evans v. Newton, 382 U.S. 296, 86 S. Ct. 486, 15 L. Ed. 2d 373 (1966), see 6 Ga. St. B.J. 428 (1970). For comment on Creech v. Scottish Rite Hosp. for Crippled Children, 211 Ga. 195, 84 S.E.2d 563 (1954), see 17 Ga. B.J. 512 (1955).



  • General Consideration
  • Relief of Aged, Impotent, Diseased, or Poor People
  • Educational Purposes
  • Public Conveniences
  • Private Charity
  • Rule Against Perpetuities


Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 108-203, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Relief "for the maintenance and medical or surgical treatment of the poor of Atlanta," is a charitable purpose. 1960-61 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 518 (decided under former Code 1933, § 108-203).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 15 Am. Jur. 2d, Charities, § 68.


- 14 C.J.S., Charities, §§ 11, 26 et seq.


- Validity of trust for religious purposes not limited by sect or denomination, 22 A.L.R. 697.

Revocability of some of subscriptions for charitable purpose in reliance on which money was expended or liability incurred, affecting enforceability of irrevocable subscription, 33 A.L.R. 625.

Gift to boy or girl scouts as a valid charitable trust, 46 A.L.R. 827.

Gift for retirement or pension fund of teachers or other public officers or employees as a valid charitable trust, 47 A.L.R. 63; 110 A.L.R. 1369.

Provision for public utility or convenience commonly supplied at expense of taxpayers as subject of valid charitable trust, 50 A.L.R. 593.

Gift to preserve or develop beauties or nature as a valid charitable trust, 52 A.L.R. 980.

Preservation or protection of animals or birds as subject of charitable trust, 66 A.L.R. 465.

Gift to prohibit or minimize manufacture, sale, or use of intoxicating liquor as a valid charitable trust, 73 A.L.R. 1361.

Validity of charitable trust in respect to certainty of beneficiaries designated as "the poor," "the needy poor," "worthy poor," etc., 99 A.L.R. 657.

Validity of charitable trust which employs term "unfortunate" or "unfortunates" as descriptive of intended beneficiaries, 111 A.L.R. 719.

Effect on certainty of purpose or beneficiaries of a charitable gift, of the possible, but not required, inclusion of a noncharitable object, 115 A.L.R. 1123.

Provision for relief or education of member of family or relatives as creating charitable trust, 131 A.L.R. 1277.

When existence of institution named as beneficiary deemed to have ended, within contemplation of provision of will in that regard, 152 A.L.R. 1303.

Validity, as for a charitable purpose, of trust for dissemination or preservation of material of historical or other educational interest or value, 12 A.L.R.2d 849; 34 A.L.R.4th 419.

Trust for school children as charitable, or merely benevolent, 25 A.L.R.2d 1114.

Gift to or for employees' pension fund as valid charitable gift or trust, 28 A.L.R.2d 428.

Validity, as a charity, of trust to lend money to students, 33 A.L.R.2d 1183.

Gift for maintenance or care of private cemetery or burial lot, or of tomb or of monument, including the erection thereof, as valid trust, 47 A.L.R.2d 592.

Validity, as charitable trust, of gift for prize or award to person or persons accomplishing specified results, 7 A.L.R.3d 1281.

Validity of charitable trust to promote change in laws or systems or methods of government, 22 A.L.R.3d 886.

Validity and effect of gift for charitable purposes which excludes otherwise qualified beneficiaries because of their race or religion, 25 A.L.R.3d 736.

Validity and construction of testamentary gift to political party, 41 A.L.R.3d 833.

Effect on charitable trust or bequest for particular school or school district, or students or graduates thereof, of change in school or district structure or organization, 68 A.L.R.3d 997.

Validity, as for a charitable purpose, of trust for publication or distribution of particular books or writings, 34 A.L.R.4th 419.

Validity of charitable gift or trust containing gender restrictions on beneficiaries, 90 A.L.R.4th 836.

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