March 26, 2016
Advisory Services Partner Ilan Hirschfeld discusses the complexities of preserving a trust fund during divorce, with Barron's Penta.
By Amy Feldman
There's nothing like a nasty divorce to chip away at a family's wealth. Trusts, of course, are the classic tool to protect assets from a grasping spouse, but don't delude yourself into thinking they are fail-proof. Consider the case in which parents put funds into irrevocable trusts for their grown children and hope to shelter their wealth—in the event of a divorce—from the kids' spouses, whom they never liked anyway.
When the divorcing spouse can't get at the assets in the trust, the most common argument is that, since the family-related spouse already has so much wealth in a trust, the divorcing spouse should get more of the marital assets than the already well-provided-for spouse. "Equitable distribution doesn't mean half-and-half," says Ilan Hirschfeld, a partner at accounting and advisory firm Marcum, and head of its marital-dissolution practice group.