In the context of a divorce, trust interests have to be disclosed, and any resulting resources taken into account. It’s a complex area of family law, so seeking expert advice early on can be key to achieving the best outcomes.
There are many and varied types of trust. Some make express provision for the intended beneficiaries, but there is often significant scope for argument regarding the value of a person’s beneficial interest in a trust, and when the provision is at trustees’ discretion.
Benefit from experienced legal advice from the outset
With a discretionary trust, the court will look at the history of distributions to assess the extent of likely future provision, and may ask to see all the trust documents, accounts, and letters of wishes of the settler.
The court may then encourage trustees to make provision available to a divorcing trust beneficiary, so financial provision for their spouse awarded in the divorce can be funded.
Expert guidance for beneficiaries and trustees
We specialise in claims relating to trusts, and can offer dependable advice to spouse beneficiaries or trustees if they’re called upon to provide information to the court when a beneficiary gets divorced. This advice will concern the level of disclosure required, and its implications. Some trusts are offshore, and we have trusted contacts in foreign jurisdictions who can assist where needed.
In certain circumstances, where a trust is deemed ‘nuptial’, a court has the power to vary trusts or structures in the context of a divorce – and even to change beneficiaries in order to provide for a spouse.
In such situations, other beneficiaries of the trust will need legal representation to ensure their interests are still taken into account.
The benefits of dealing with a full-service law firm
Our clients have the best family law team in Devon and Cornwall – as ranked by Chambers and The Legal 500, the two leading independent legal guides. And because we’re a full-service firm, they also have access to our Inheritance and Trusts team, who can advise on the implications for divorcees who are trust beneficiaries, trustees who are called upon to provide information to the court, and other beneficiaries of an affected trust.