Divorce and family trusts

Whether part of a wealth protection strategy, or a resource from which income or capital can be received in a financial settlement, trusts are complex. Sensible, specialist advice is crucial.

Family trusts are established for a wide variety of reasons. They can be part of a wider family strategy of wealth protection for the tax efficient transfer of assets between generations, set up to hold property assets, or be part of the overall structure of a family business or investment company.

From understanding the legal and commercial dynamics of a trust to advising clients on whether a trust can protect assets in the event of a divorce, our long-standing reputation as experts on both onshore and offshore trusts means that we are the leading advisers in this complex area of family law. We also work closely with our award-winning tax and trust colleagues to ensure our clients have the full picture.

Trusts can play a critical role. From presenting a trust skilfully in negotiations to successfully attacking or defending the arrangement in court, we have a well established reputation  as experts in this highly specialised area.


Our lawyers

Be confident in our ability to advise and guide you. Our nationally renowned team represents both beneficiaries and trustees in trust matters on divorce, combining a deep knowledge of the technical aspects of trusts law with clear, practical guidance. We regularly and expertly advise on both onshore and offshore trust arrangements for our clients. Recent examples of our work include:

  • Advising on one of the largest cases ever brought in the High Court which involved a complex structure of trusts and companies. Representing the beneficiaries of trusts that were under attack, our advice ensured a successful outcome for our client, enabling the trusts to continue to provide financial support for future generations.
  • Giving detailed advice on the tax consequences of extracting capital from trusts and providing the key to unlock a financial settlement where the trust assets included shares in property development companies and farms.
  • Regularly advising trustees on wealth protection strategies for the next generation, enabling them to preserve family assets and businesses with pre and post marital agreement and family investment company structures.
  • Successfully representing the interests of the trustees of a substantial land holding and farming business in a divorce including a trust beneficiary, helping to structure a financial settlement that achieved our clients’ aim of avoiding the trust being broken up.

What you need to know

Many families now use discretionary trusts as part of their overall financial planning for the next generations. However trusts, and the assets held within them, can be taken into account by the court if one beneficiary divorces or separates from their partner. Beneficiaries, and the trustees of the trusts, need to know how trust assets are going to be viewed and treated by the court.

How a judge will treat trust assets will depend on the facts of each case and on how the assets have been treated throughout the course of the marriage or relationship. Specialist legal advice at an early stage is critical.


Frequently Asked Questions

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