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How a trust might be designated shared marital property

An individual in Massachusetts who is getting a divorce might wonder what their spouse's rights are regarding an inheritance. In general, a person's inheritance is considered separate property if they keep it separate from joint accounts. However, a third party trust might be considered marital property.

One way around this is for asset holders who are creating the trust to clearly state that the funds in the trust should not be considered for alimony purposes or as marital property. It is also necessary that the beneficiary of the trust should not use the assets for shared purposes since that could negate those clauses.

There are also circumstances in which parents creating a trust for their children might want their child's spouse to have access to the assets even if the marriage ends. One example might be if parents have a troubled child, but they care a great deal for their child's spouse. The child might struggle with drug abuse or other issues, and the spouse might struggle as well in supporting and helping that person. A trust could specifically state that the funds are intended to be used in the support of both individuals. The bottom line is that the terms of any trust should state the intention of the trust as clearly as possible.

When these terms are unclear, a divorce dispute may ensue. If assets from a trust are the only available financial security for one or both spouses, the dispute could turn especially contentious. In such cases, a couple might have to turn to litigation. This could be the case with any number of other issues that might arise during divorce.

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