Trusts can be a very tax efficient way of protecting wealth for future generations and facilitating the distribution of income produced by highly valuable assets and family business arrangements. The Family Court has powers to overlook Trust structures and impose legal obligations on Trustees to distribute Trust assets, in particular circumstances which may come to light following a family relationship breakdown.
The court’s powers can have grave consequences and settlors should be mindful as to what protection can and should be put in place to avoid unwanted intervention in their arrangements. Our family lawyers work closely with our private client lawyers to ensure that appropriate protection is in place from an early stage, so that you can plan your estate and financial arrangements for your family with peace of mind.
Dealing with Trusts upon divorce can be extremely complex and specialist advice is a must. Our family law and private client teams work closely with specialist accountants and financial advisors to ensure that you receive the expert advice that you need.
We also act for Trustees as interveners in divorce proceedings to ensure that your Trust assets receive the necessary attention and expert advice they deserve, in the interests of your beneficiaries.
Q: I have money in a Trust – this means my spouse can’t get it, doesn’t it?
A: How the Family Court treats assets held in Trust depends on the Court’s interpretation of the Trust itself. For example, is the Trust actually a sham, designed to frustrate a spouse’s claim? Is the Trust a “nuptial trust”? Settling assets into a Trust does not necessarily keep them out of the reach of the Family Court.