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How to protect assets with a trust

Texas parents often pass down assets to their children through a trust. However, the answer to the question of whether an ex-spouse may lay claim to assets in that trust is not always clear. One way to ensure that assets in a trust may not be split in a divorce is to include language that forbids it from happening.

This may be especially helpful in the event that the trust was created before a child's marriage began. If the language in the trust is clear, it may be considered separate property, which may not be divided in the event of a divorce. This is almost always true if the terms do not violate state law, go against public policy or are illegal for any other reason. In some cases, this may actually mean that a former spouse derives an income from a trust.

For instance, if a person who just got divorced is close with his or her in-laws, those in-laws may want to see that person supported financially. The parents of the former spouse would still be encouraged to create precise and clear language that would specify how the trust was to be used for that person's benefit. While it may be impossible to cover every scenario during or after a marriage, a good trust will contain as many contingencies as possible.

In a divorce, people may have questions or concerns about property division and which assets may need to be divided. Family law can help them learn more about marital versus separate property and how to protect assets. It may also be possible for legal counsel to explain more about commingling and how it may turn separate property into marital property.

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