Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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What happens to a trust in a divorce

Some Georgia residents who are ending their marriage may be concerned about a pre-existing trust under which they are a beneficiary. If the terms of the trust are unclear or the assets in the trust have been used for joint purchases, then the trust could be considered marital property that will be divided during a divorce.

In some cases, this may be the wish of parents who set up the trust. One example might be if a person takes care of a spouse who is ill or addicted to drugs. That person might be close to their in-laws, and those in-laws may want to make sure that if the marriage ends, the person gets a portion of the trust. However, the intent should be specifically stated in the trust.

More commonly, the intent might be to protect the trust from a spouse. In this case, the trust documentation should also clearly state that the assets should only be used for the individual and not considered marital property. While these terms are generally considered what ultimately determines whether a trust is marital property, individuals who are beneficiaries should avoid creating any confusion which would result from placing the assets in a joint account.

The end of a marriage is a difficult time that can involve making a number of difficult decisions about property division and child custody. Some people might be particularly concerned about protecting their assets while others may be worried about their financial well-being after divorce. For example, an individual might marry into a wealthy family and may not work outside the home. While that individual might not have access to half of assets such as a trust, the person might have the right to a share of the retirement account.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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