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Trusts in family law: useful, flexible and sometimes complex

As many estate administration and family law lawyers often point out, trusts can be very dynamic legal tools that allow for optimal planning and flexibility.

Consider for a moment a case where parents seek to provide for their children as the kids enter adulthood, yet with the parents still maintaining some essential controls over assets that are ultimately pegged for the children.

A trust can achieve that aim, and in impressive fashion. Properly crafted with relevant input from a proven attorney, a trust can parcel out funds over time and for a specified reason. Some representative examples underscoring the flexibility and great utility of trusts include these fashioned outcomes:

  • Money to be disbursed in installments when a child reaches the age of majority, paid out on dates specified in the trust instrument
  • Funds to be released to pay for college tuition
  • Trust principal to be used for an adult child’s home purchase
  • Trust assets to be used to pay for a child’s wedding

Truly, the applications of a trust are nearly limitless, and millions of Americans find them to be invaluable for future planning, asset preservation and desired disbursal.

What many parents don’t plan on, though, is divorce, which, as we note in an article on our website discussing marital dissolution and trust accounts, can render various trust vehicles more than a bit problematic.

The reason why: If a trust was structured in a particular way, it could be deemed divisible property and subject to equitable property division under Georgia law.

In other words: Its original intent could be undermined.

Ideally, and in most instances, that will not happen when parties and proven attorneys sit down early on and fully discuss asset-related goals regarding their children and how a trust can fully -- and safely -- promote them.

And when a trust does become a point of issue in a divorce, it can be important for a divorcing party to enlist the help of a proven divorce attorney who has experience working with trusts and matters involving asset division.

The attorneys at The Siemon Law Firm do precisely that type of work, seeking to fully protect the legal rights of our clients in every case we take. We welcome your online visit to our firm.

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