Protecting a trust during a divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in family law on Monday, February 20, 2017.

When Missouri couples start planning to get married, it is recommended that their parents take steps to protect any assets that they intend to leave for their family member. If those assets are in a trust, taking precautions can ensure that the trust can only be accessed by the family member and not by the other spouse, especially if the couple ends up getting divorced later on.

One of the most important ways that a trust can be protected is to ensure that the terms are ironclad. The terms are generally honored as written as long as they do not contradict any state or federal laws. For example, the individuals who set up the trust may be able to state in the terms that the trust should not be considered marital property. In order to further protect the trust, however, the beneficiary must be careful to never commingle the funds nor make joint purchases with the money.

Because the terms of the trust are often upheld by the court, there may be cases where parents may want their child’s trust to provide a certain amount of income for the otherspouse. For example, the parents may want their child’s former spouse to be financially secure if they attempted to care for their child when they were sick, though this must be written in the terms.

If a former couple is going through a high-asset divorce, it may be difficult to finalize a settlement. A family law attorney may assist with providing evidence that shows which assets were owned by a person prior to the marriage and which assets were obtained during the course of the marriage. If the person’s parents left a trust, the attorney may help ensure that the terms are clear and whether the funds or income were meant to be considered separate property or marital property.

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