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Setting Up A Trust To Include Several Years Of Back Owed Child Support? Asset Protection & Estate Planning.

Pleasanton, CA |

I'm 31 years old, my mother and father divorced when I was 2. He was ordered to pay child support and never paid a dime. Several years ago my mother contacted a third party child support enforcement agency who was tasked with digging up some dirt and trying to collect. They found he owed something like $85k in back support. He didn't have a job but owns a home. They couldn't collect so I think they dropped the case, however a lien may have been issued on the home. Fast forward to today - My mother is looking into creating a trust naming me as the beneficiary & plans to put her home and assets into it. Does this $85k in back owed child support, or the lien on my fathers home, go into the trust? And on the other side of the coin, can he avoid the lien by placing his home into his own trust?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. The issue first is whether your mother has an enforceable right to the $85K, then the issue would be if that right was assignable and if it survived her death. That is an issue for a Family Law attorney. If she does have a right, she can do an assignment and assign her interest in that claim to her trust.

    As to your father's trust, a self-settled trust does not provide creditor protection.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.


  2. Transferring the home into his own trust does not provide any protection against a lien. Child support debt is highly collectible. Your mother should contact the Department of Child Support Services or a private family law attorney regarding collecting these monies. If he has any income, it should be attached (garnished, have the wages withheld) in addition to any liens that may already be in place.

    The information above should not be considered legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. I would create a trust and draft a will as well. I don't think you can put a lien on the house into a trust, but if she leaves a will as well, leaving everything that she has to you, you will inherit it. What I would do if I were her, though, is to contact the Marshal where the lien is issued and have him execute the judgment. Marshal can force your father to sell his home so you can collect on child support.

    Please contact my law office at 718-333-2394 or visit my website at www.BrooklynTrustandWill.com for more information about this answer. Inna Fershteyn Law Office of Inna Fershteyn, P.C. 1517 Voorhies Ave, 4th Floor Brooklyn, NY 11235 (718) 333-2394 www.BrooklynTrustandWill.com

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