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trust fund, Illinois divorce attorney, division of property upon divorceThe division of marital assets is one of the most important and complex steps in the divorce process. Parties must first determine what the marital assets are and the value of them. Under certain circumstances, property that is part of a trust may be protected from inclusion as marital property. Therefore, it is important for both grantors and beneficiaries of trusts to understand when property in a trust may or may not become part of the division of marital property.

Trust Property 

Under Illinois law, property acquired as a gift or inheritance and kept separate is generally protected from being classified as a marital asset and thus is not part of the division of the marital estate. In such a case, if a beneficiary of a trust divorces, his or her ex-spouse will usually not be given any rights to that non-marital property—a beneficiary of a revocable trust has no legal right to the trust principal or income due to a grantor's right to cancel a trust at any time. Hence, forming a revocable trust is one way in which a grantor can provide for a beneficiary and also protect his or her assets from a beneficiary's ex-spouse at the same time. However, if the funds from a trust are distributed and a beneficiary commingles those funds with marital property, the funds may be considered marital property. Commingling can occur if funds of one spouse are placed into a joint account of both spouses.

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