Dealing With A Joint Trust And The Assets Held After A Divorce?

After a divorce, the handling of property held in joint trust initially created by a married couple, can vary depending on the specific details of the trust and the divorce settlement or decree.

Most of the time, the plan in the divorce mandates modification or termination of the joint trust created when the parties were married. In some cases, divorcing spouses may choose to modify or terminate the trust as part of their divorce settlement. This can involve redistributing trust assets or even terminating the trust altogether, which is most common. The process and requirements for modification or termination will depend on the specific trust agreement. In Nevada, by statute, the former spouse is considered pre-deceased and assets will not go to that spouse based on the prior estate plan or trust documents.

It is imperative to review the trust documents. Start by carefully reviewing the trust documents to understand the terms and provisions related to divorce or property distribution. Look for any specific instructions regarding the disposition of trust assets in the event of a divorce.

An attorney can inform you on the specifics of Nevada law. It’s advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in trust and family law. They can provide guidance based on the specific laws in your jurisdiction and help you understand your rights and options regarding trust property.

It is recommended to open lines of communication with the trustee. If you are not the trustee of the trust, but rather the beneficiary, it’s essential to communicate with the trustee. Inform them about the divorce and discuss how the trust assets should be handled. The trustee will need to act in accordance with the trust’s terms and applicable laws.

During divorce proceedings, the trust property may be subject to division as part of the overall property settlement. It’s crucial to work with your attorney and negotiate a fair and equitable settlement, taking into account the trust assets and any applicable legal requirements for allocating assets correctly.

Remember that the information provided here is general in nature, and it’s important to consult with a qualified attorney who can provide advice tailored to your specific situation. They can help you navigate the legal complexities and ensure your rights and interests are protected.

By Melissa L. Exline, Esq.

Kimberly Surratt served for eight years on the executive council and has been the vice chair and then chair of the State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section. In addition, she is the President-Elect of the Nevada Justice Association and the chair of the domestic lobbying committee. She has lobbied with the Nevada Justice Association since 2004.

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