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Protecting trusts and family assets

In some cases, Minnesota parents may want to give certain financial assets or other property to their children in order to pass it down through the family. If the child later gets married, however, those assets could potentially be divided up in a subsequent divorce unless the family makes the move to protect them.

When a couple decides that they need to end their marriage, they can expect to have their marital assets divided. However, there may be a few assets that are considered to be separately owned. These assets will go to the person who has a legitimate claim to them. Separate property often includes property that was obtained or owned by a person prior to getting married, an inheritance that was received by a person, a gift that was given to the person by a third party and property designated as separate property in a prenuptial agreement.

If a person’s parents set up a trust for their child, they should ensure that the terms are specific and detailed. For example, the terms should state whether or not the beneficiary’s spouse is entitled to have access to the funds. If the terms of the trust do not grant the spouse access in the event of a divorce, the trust may be considered separate property and will not be divided during the divorce process.

Before people get married, they may want to draw up a prenuptial agreement that protects any assets that they are bringing into the marriage. These types of agreements are contracts, however, and thus they need to follow all applicable laws regarding fraud and coercion. It is advisable for each party to have separate legal counsel during the process.

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