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Vague trust terms could expose funds in divorce settlement

When a Florida beneficiary of a trust gets married, a subsequent divorce might involve the assets within the trust. If the benefactor who created the trust overlooked the possibility of a divorce in the beneficiary's future, then the terms of the trust might be insufficient to protect assets during property division or the calculation of spousal support.

Items generally considered separate from marital property include property owned before a marriage, personal injury settlements for pain and suffering and property specifically declared nonmarital within a prenuptial agreement. If the trust document does not clearly state that a spouse of a beneficiary cannot access the assets in a divorce settlement, then an ex-spouse might attempt to make a legal claim upon the trust fund.

Even if the trust document clearly states that the assets will be nonmarital, the beneficiary should still take care not to commingle the funds with joint accounts. The beneficiary should not mix trust distributions with other income or use money from the trust to make joint purchases with a spouse.

A person from a wealthy household who is facing the end of a marriage might benefit from obtaining the advice of a family law attorney about how retirement accounts, real estate, business assets or trust funds are treated during the property division phase. An attorney from a Hillsborough County high-asset divorce firm could help the client collect important financial records, obtain asset valuation or defend the terms of a prenuptial agreement. An attorney might document claims to nonmarital assets and strive to prevent them from being divided with the other party.

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Pilka & Associates, P.A.
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Brandon, FL 33511

Phone: 863-236-9321
Fax: 813-651-0710
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