Date and Time: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Program Fee: $50
This program is online only.
Cosponsored with the Massachusetts Family and Probate American Inn of Court and Greater Boston Family Law American Inn of Court
- Hon. Terri Klug Cafazzo, Probate & Family Court
Hon. George Phelan, Probate & Family Court
- Jennifer Flanagan, Esq., Vacovec, Mayotte & Singer, LLP
- Lisa M. Cukier, Esq., Burns & Levinson ( Moderator)
The past decade has seen extraordinary change and variance in the treatment of trusts in divorce. Estate planners formerly relied on spendthrift clauses and ascertainable standards and trustee discretion to protect trusts. We can rely on these no longer. Each new court decision over the past few years, and most recently the decisions in 2020, further defined the contours and highlighted the jagged edges of this ever-changing body of law at the intersection of trust law and divorce law. Division of sophisticated marital estates that include complex trust interests present unique and impactful risks and outcomes. A divorcing spouse’s financial future and long-standing expectations of family wealth can be crushed if not handled right. Some trust interests are considered part of the marital estate, and the value of the trust interest at the time of divorce is subject to equitable distribution. Some trust interests are considered too uncertain or speculative to be included in the marital estate, but that does not necessarily mean they are disregarded altogether. In some situations, a judge might order division of a future distribution “if, as and when received.” Under other circumstances, a judge may award the non-inheriting spouse a larger share of what presently exists in the marital estate, in recognition that the other spouse is likely receive substantial additional assets in the future. All trusts are at risk for being divided up in divorce. Savvy counsel can either protect it or tap it like a spigot. No trusts are automatically immunized, but there are strategies to shield trusts from disintegration in divorce. You can try to shield your trust from division using spendthrift clauses and advising clients to forbear from mixing trust assets into the fabric of the marriage, but there are no guarantees. Family trusts are intended for asset retention, growth, stewardship, comfort, and enjoyment. If the trust fund is attacked, the assets risk losing value, the family loses control over assets, and ex-spouses can occupy control, hold up rights, remove trustees, and force distributions. Whether you are protecting a family trust or asking a court to share one so as to even out what the spouses receive in the divorce, the best protection is knowledge of strategies in law and in the exercise of discretion that can move the needle on trust vulnerability versus trust protection.
Online registration is encouraged. For assistance, questions on group discounts, accommodations requests, special billing, program content, out-of-state CLE credits, and general CLE information contact Michael Saporito by email at email@example.com. Registrations accepted in order of receipt. Registration fees are non-refundable. Most Social Law Library CLE events are recorded. The recording is available by digital download, generally within a week after the program date. Most downloads include print material and are $19.95 each. This product purchase is separate from CLE registration and is not included in the price of a CLE registration. CLE credit, when applicable, is only granted when the live webinar is attended.