Is a trust touchable in a divorce?

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Is a trust touchable in a divorce?

My mother has a trust in her name setup by her
parents, but she doesn’t want him to be able to
get any of that money. I know PA is an equal
distribution state, but I don’t believe he
should be able to touch her trust?

Also, my grandmother recently passed away and
my parents house is in her name. In her will,
she wrote that my father is not to receive
anything or any proceeds from the sale of their
house. Does this guarantee he is not entitled
to any of the money when the house is sold?

Asked on July 25, 2018 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The trust: it depends on how much control your mother has over it. If she can say what is done with the money in the trust or choose when to take money from it, it will be treated as her asset and so included in a divorce. If she does not exerciese control over the trust, it should not be.
The house: the will provision is irrelevant; will provisions or terms cannot overrule the law, and the law says that a spouse has an interest in, during a divorce, certain assets of his spouse. The will cannot change that. Generally, an inheritance is not included in a divorce, but that's not because of any will provison like the one you describe--it's because the law generally considers anything inherited to the "separate" property of the inheriting spouse, not marital, joint, or community property.


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