Cindy Allen & Associates PLLC

Phone: 405-310-8673

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Protecting assets during a divorce

When residents of Oklahoma are planning their weddings, divorce tends to be the last thing on their minds. However, for couples who are arriving at the marriage with some wealth, particularly wealth that has been inherited, a trust fund might serve to protect those assets in a divorce. The key is establishing a trust with clear language and that anticipates a variety of situations right from the beginning.

When couples decide to end their marriages, they will eventually need to negotiate property division. This part of the process can get contentious and emotional, particularly when there might be both marital assets and separate assets at stake.

The division is governed by state law. Separate assetsusually only include inheritances, gifts from third parties to individual spouses, property acquired by each spouse before the marriage and after the date of separation, payments received from personal injury claims and the property that has been declared as such in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

When a trust fund is used for inherited wealth, it can become a legal issue in the negotiations, particularly if the language is not clear. However, the trust can be used to protect a person's assets if the language is clear about its intentions, the trust does not violate state laws or public policy, or if the judge does not find it unfair. It is possible to appeal a judge's decision, in such cases, but the process can become expensive and take a long time. In order to avoid having a court make the determination, couples may want to try to negotiate an accord with the assistance of their respective attorneys.

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