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Transfer Assets To Trusts With Extreme Caution (if at all)

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If there’s one thing family courts hate, it’s a spouse who plays dirty by trying to hide assets in the hopes of avoiding having to split them as part of the marital estate.

Doing so can bring stiff consequences, such as having to cede a bigger share of marital property, or getting hit with a judgment of contempt, or even criminal fraud charges (for securing property under false pretenses) or perjury charges (you signed your divorce papers under penalty of perjury).

A common way people try to shield assets from division is by placing them in trust (a financial instrument in which a “trustee” manages assets and distributes the income generated to the “beneficiary”). If you’re doing this to cheat your soon-to-be ex, you risk the consequences noted above.

Of course, there are legitimate estate-planning reasons for putting property in trust.

Talk to a lawyer to do things right in the technical, legal and moral sense, or you risk creating red flags that judges will pick up on.

For example, if you transfer what should be considered marital property to a third party (such as a relative or friend) by creating a trust on their behalf, make sure you receive adequate “consideration” in return. In other words, the person had better be paying you something of value for the property. If they’re not, this will create justifiable suspicion, and a court might void the transfer.

There are other circumstances that may signal to a judge an intent to defraud, and each state has its own nuances of law. And there may be better estate-planning vehicles available under the circumstances.

If you’re in the process of divorcing, but you also have legitimate reasons to put property in trust, talk to an attorney as soon as possible to weigh the different options.

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

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10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2020 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year
100 TOP WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES Women Who Lead
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MATRIMONIAL LAWYERS (AAML)
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
2021 LGBTQ-OWNED BUSINESSES Business Pride
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Recorder Law Business Technology Best of 2021 Winner
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
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