Totally hypothetical money-as-a-gift situation.

In light of the gigantic lottery jackpots across the US this week, I imagined a theoretical dilemma.

Let’s say you won the $500 million jackpot and you’ve decided to share a portion with siblings/children/grandchildren/friends/whoever. But your sister is married to a skeevy bum who wouldn’t think twice about divorcing her and claiming half of her assets, so you want to prevent that from happening. Is it possible to create a trust or other instrument that isn’t part of community property (or whatever it’s called) so that skeev-o couldn’t live off your generosity?

Stretching things a bit further, your sib has been divorced for a number of years and neither former partner pays alimony to the other. Suddenly, the ex discovers that your sib is getting a windfall from you - he/she doesn’t have any sort of claim against that, right?

This is all purely theoretical. I’m not seeking legal advice - just idle curiosity. I haven’t even bought my lottery tickets yet. :wink:

Sure, I think you just create a trust and make her the trustee - in the case of a divorce, the assets of the trust are not hers - they belong to the trust, so they are out of reach of the divorce settlement.

But as a trustee, she can have rights to spend the resources of the trust, or appoint other trustees (or not), etc.

Good to know. So when I hit the big one… :wink:

I actually do have a BIL with a nasty ex who likes to sue. Altho she’s not had any contact with any of the family for at least 2 decades, so it probably wouldn’t be an issue anyway.

In California an inheritance belongs to the inheritor. Such that if I were married and my spouse won that $500 million I would not be entitled to any of it – ever. No trust is necessary on her part but she would need to keep the asset separate from any joint accounts.

Both my sisters are now in this situation after my Mom’s estate was finalized.

I hadn’t thought in terms of state law. I live in Maryland, but we have sibs who live in other states. I assume since it would be my money given as a gift, my state’s laws would apply. Well, when I do win, I’ll be able to afford an attorney to advise me. Or should I plan to stash my jackpot in the Caymans and dole it out from there??

I need to correct myself. The OP scenario does not involve death, so any transfer from winner to another is not an estate issue. Therefore, my comments do not apply until FCM dies. Your newly hired legal eagle will figure it out for a 30% contingency fee.

I have done such things for several clients. I almost always advise a Trust in such cases where parents/grandparents want to be sure that some no-account (an often used phrasing here) son/daughter-in-law can’t get a piece of the action. In a few extreme cases they’ve named me successor Trustee with specific instructions to maintain a strong distance from the problem child-in-law and only have meetings with the Trust beneficiary present only. It’s a tough situation.

Well, I’m not going to advise the Caymans because I’m allergic to FINRA investigations and losing my license.

But if you do win, send me a PM. :wink:

If I remember, I’ll stop and get a couple of tickets on the way home today…

My daughter has already asked me to buy her a house. Sheesh! :smiley:

Agreed. But I think the OP wanted to make sure that the daughter could not turn around and give money to Skeevy Bum.