Close Menu

Unpacking the Complexities of Trust Funds in High-Net-Worth Divorces

Trust Fund in Divorce

High-asset divorces are more complicated than divorces for couples of modest means, especially if trust funds are involved. A trust fund defines the formal relationship between the grantor, trustee (a third party), and beneficiary. An individual with assets transfers them into a trust, which defines who will manage the property if they cannot do so. 

A trust fund is essential for protecting assets, estate planning, and naming beneficiaries. No couple expects that when they say, “till death do us part,” they will need to divide assets in a divorce, but as we know, half of all marriages fail. Unpacking the trust fund may become essential to dividing assets in a Florida divorce.

Suppose you plan to divorce or marry, and significant assets are involved. In that case, you may want advice from a family law attorney with decades of experience in high-asset divorces and marriages. Crystal Collins Spencer can help answer your questions during an initial consultation.

Trust Funds 

A trust is one way to protect assets before a divorce, especially since an individual cannot move assets during a divorce. At that time, the court will consider the timing fraudulent.

There are two different types of trust funds.

  • A revocable trust means the grantor can change it at any time, has full access, and can move assets into and out of the trust. A revocable trust, overseen by the grantor, a party to the divorce, means the trust may be divided during a divorce.
  • An irrevocable trust protects property against creditors and legal judgments. It cannot be modified for any reason, which creates complications when a divorce is pending. 

There are other types of trusts, and whether they are subject to division depends on the trust’s language and when it was formed.

Funding a Florida Trust Fund

Dividing a trust fund in a high net-worth divorce requires that many questions are asked and answered, for example:

  • Was the trust set up before the marriage? The funds then may be the sole property of the grantor if that can be determined. 
  • If set up during the marriage, did marital funds contribute to the trust fund? Monies earned during the marriage are subject to division unless a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement specifies that the trust assets are not to be included in a divorce and both partners agree to that language.
  • Dividing a trust fund becomes more complicated if your assets have been co-mingled during the marriage. Have trust assets been deposited into a joint account? Besides cash assets, was one person working and the other taking care of the children? All contributions to the marriage will be considered in a divorce, even non-financial contributions.
  • Was the trust set up to benefit the children or their education? If so, it could be subject to division in a divorce. 

Your Florida Divorce and Family Law Specialist

Attorney Crystal Collins Spencer understands that dividing a trust fund in a high net-worth divorce requires accurately valuing it. She and her team will investigate who contributed to the fund and whether all assets have been disclosed. 

Ms. Spencer has seen some creative avenues someone may take to hide assets, and she understands how to uncover them.

Offshore trust funds will also be subject to investigation and division in a divorce if both spouses contribute financially to the trust. Even non-financial contributions need to be valued and considered an asset subject to division. 

As a soon-to-be-single person, concessions made before and during a marriage should now be reevaluated as you plan on moving ahead without the financial support of a marriage partner.

Whether property, brokerage accounts, business interests, homes, cars, or art, you must consider the tax implications of assets post-divorce. 

Seeking legal representation when considering a divorce can put you in the best financial situation as we negotiate your separation. Now is not the time to passively agree to any settlement to get it over with. It is also not the time to try to shift assets, as the court will not consider that favorably.

For more than thirty years, Attorney Spencer has advised high-net-worth individuals facing divorce in Pensacola, Sandestin, and Fort Walton.

Let Crystal Collins Spencer’s professional guidance give you the peace of mind you will need moving forward.

Call her Pensacola office at (850) 795-4910 to arrange a consultation to help you move forward in your life.   

316 S. Baylen Street, Suite 520
Pensacola, FL 32502
Telephone: 850.912.8080 Fax: 850.912.8028

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

© 2016 - 2024 Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved. This is a Too Darn Loud Marketing law firm website.

Contact Form Tab