San Francisco, CA asked in Child Support and Estate Planning for California

Q: Can you pay for child support from a trust where the child is the beneficiary?

My wife and I are recently divorced. Years prior to our divorce, we set up trusts for each our daughters. I am the trustee and my daughters are the beneficiaries of each of their trusts. The trusts own shares in a private company that may have a substantial liquidity event in the near future.

Considering that the trusts are intended to support the expenses of my daughters, can I pay for their child support from these trusts? Additionally, can I pay their private school tuitions from these trusts?

3 Lawyer Answers
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Irvine, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It depends on the language of the trusts. You are going to need reread the trusts and consult with an estate planning attorney who can review them with you.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Jose, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If agree with Shawna. It depends on why you set the trust up the way you did (trustor’s intent) and the language of the trust. If the purpose of the trust was to provide for the child’s education and there are no prohibitions in the trust on using trust funds for such purpose, then yes, you may use trust assets for such purpose. Some trusts specifically prohibit the trustee from using trust funds to pay for a child’s expenses that are the legal obligation of another, such as a parent. Consult with a trusts and estates attorney before making any decisions.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
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Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: A trust speaks only at the death of the trust or, so I do not believe that your inquiry is viable. However, if you and your wife revoke the trust, then you could achieve your purpose. Best of luck to both of you.

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