Is a trust touchable in a divorce?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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