Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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How do trusts work in a Massachusetts divorce?

Let's talk about trusts. What role might they play in a Massachusetts divorce? And is a trust considered marital property to be divided among the divorcing spouses? Well, the answer depends.

If your parents set up a trust for you and you are planning to marry, then you may want to create a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse. In the agreement, you can stipulate that the trust income will not be considered part of your income stream during the negotiation of any alimony or child support payments in the event the marriage doesn't work out.

Many people won't like the idea of their inheritance being divided with the person they're divorcing. To prevent that from happening, the surest course of action is either a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement. But let's say you're expecting an inheritance but haven't received any of it yet. Can your expected inheritance be considered in the division of assets during a divorce?

Under current law, the answer is yes. If the person you are divorcing uses what is called a Vaughn Affidavit to gain information about your parents' (or another wealthy relative's) assets and estate plan, then there's the possibility that the inheritance will be considered marital property. If you are on the other side of the divorce (the one without the inheritance), you might use a Vaughn Affidavit to help determine an appropriate child support plan.

The division of marital property can be an extremely complex process when high assets are involved. If you have questions about the division of marital property, please stop by our Worcester property division page. Our firm helps individuals determine exactly what kind of property should be considered in a divorce settlement.

Source: The MetroWest Daily News, "Passing down assets to children," Arther Bergeron, Sept. 9, 2012

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