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How a trust can help preserve assets in a divorce

Some Georgia residents who are preparing to marry may wonder about different ways to protect their assets. As the average marriage age rises, so does the amount of assets that is typically owned by the spouses prior to taking their vows. The average age for grooms is currently 28.7 years old, and for brides, it is 26.5 years, which means couples are marrying later and presumably entering the union with more assets. Many lawyers and financial advisors agree that the best way to protect assets in the event of divorce is by having both spouses sign a prenuptial agreement. However, in a situation where spouses are unable to do this, a trust may help offer some protection.

A self-settled trust is a trust into which a person may place funds solely for personal benefit. There are 13 states that currently allow these type of trusts. Many advisors will recommend establishing such a trust before a person marries or other creditors.

In two states, if the self-settled trust is established at least 31 days before the marriage, the spouse does not even need to disclose that the trust exists. In four additional states, self-settled trusts can be established even after the marriage, as long as only non-marital property is used. Another option is a Delaware statutory trust, which can be sought by residents of any state.

It is important for those who are contemplating marriage to protect themselves. Having a prenuptial agreement or trust is an invaluable insurance policy if a marriage should later fail. A local family law attorney may be able to help Georgia residents determine the options available to them and advise on the best choice for a given financial situation. The attorney may then be able to draft documents to protect assets from a future ex-spouse.

Source: Barron's, "Divorce Trusts", Tatiana Sarafin, May 18, 2013

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