There are many people in Ohio looking to make wise decisions about how to plan for the future of their assets. When people have worked hard to accumulate significant wealth over the years, they can benefit from making a plan to determine how those assets will be distributed. They may have causes or family members that they want to ensure are cared for, or they may want to avoid estate taxes to the extent possible. However, they may also be concerned about how these estate planning choices might play out in a potential divorce in the future.

Spousal lifetime access trusts or SLATs are one option that can help to protect assets over the long term, even if the estate tax exemptions change in the future. Irrevocable trusts can have a variety of benefits. For example, they can also minimize exposure to liability and protect marital assets from creditors, significant for people in professions with higher risk. In many cases, people may choose to set up SLATs in the name of each spouse listing the other spouse as a beneficiary. This can allow people to protect assets while still retaining assets.

Of course, people may be concerned about using this type of irrevocable planning mechanism if they may divorce in the future. When creating new SLATs, each trust might build in a mechanism to make the creator a future beneficiary in case of death or divorce in order to provide additional security.

Estate planning is one matter that needs to be considered when couples decide to separate, including negotiating a settlement of these issues as part of the property division process. A family law attorney can provide advice and guidance on how trusts, powers of attorney and other estate documents may be affected by a divorce.