Divorce is never a pleasant experience, and if there is an inheritance left to one of the spouses, the other spouse may try to get his or her hands on it. And it can happen, even if that inheritance is held in a trust, and should be protected. When it comes to divorce the law is still evolving, and there have been some recent cases where ex-spouses have been able to directly or indirectly, obtain a benefit from a trust, regardless of the beneficiary’s intentions.
Here are just some examples:
Alimony, there have been cases where a divorce court judge has awarded greater alimony because of an inheritance, even one held in a trust.
If the inheritance upped the standard of living for the couple during the marriage, the ex-spouse is entitled to maintain that standard.
Property settlements, there have been cases, in some states, where a greater share of the marital property was awarded to the ex-spouse. The judge, ruling the inheritance provided extra economic security for the trust beneficiary.
And in very unusual cases, a divorce court has awarded a portion of the trust assets to the beneficiary’s ex, but only when the beneficiary had an extraordinary level of control over distributions.
Now for the good news- there are ways to firm up protection of that inheritance, by strengthening the trust, and the estate attorneys at Doane and Doane can show you how.