Asset protection for children
In August 2014, the strategy of using trusts to protect one’s assets as they are passed on to children, or grandchildren, was called into question. In the case In re Castellano, 2014 WL 3881338 (Bk. N.D. Ill. Aug. 6, 2014) the bankruptcy court ruled that assets left to Linda Castellano in her mother’s living trust were included in Linda’s bankruptcy estate and thus accessible by the Bankruptcy Trustee. This decision has now been reversed by the U.S. District Court in Safanda v Castellano, 2015 WL 1911130 (N.D. Ill., Apr. 27, 2015). Jay Adkisson at Forbes has done a great job of outlining the case and the initial bankruptcy court decision.
Trusts continue to be an effective tool to protect the assets you leave to your children. Divorce, bankruptcy, taxes, and lawsuits all threaten the wealth you have built and wish to pass on. A properly drafted trust can ensure that what you worked hard to accumulate won’t be lost at your death.