Trusts are frequently used as a tax efficient method of protecting wealth for future generations, and clients are often surprised to learn that their interests in such trusts can be taken into account when deciding the financial outcome of a divorce.
Having considered the type of trust and whether the assets within it are readily available, the court could regard it as an asset of the marriage and as such alter its terms so that an equitable financial settlement can be reached. If the court decides that it is not an asset of the marriage, it may still nonetheless regard it as a resource of the beneficiary spouse, which whilst it may not be shared, its availability to that spouse will be considered.
The court’s powers have serious consequences and therefore those setting up a trust should seriously consider what protection can be put in place to avoid any unwanted court intervention.
Our family team frequently work with our private client lawyers to draft Pre/Post-Nuptial Agreements that clearly set out the intentions of both spouses and where appropriate the wishes of their families.