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A Roadmap to Navigating the Complex Interactions Between Trust Law and Divorce Law

(696 reviews)

Produced on December 19, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Wills, Trusts, & Estates

Course Description

In this presentation, Steve Malech and Dan Daniels will discuss the complex intersection of trust law and divorce law. Subjects to be covered a brief review of the different types of trusts, the impact of state property dissolution statutes on whether a trust is includible in the marital estate, how to design – and how not to design – a trust to protect the assets from the claims of divorcing spouses, and litigation strategies for protecting or attacking trusts in connection with property divisions into force. Malech is a prominent trust litigation lawyer in New York City and Daniels is an estate planning lawyer headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. Both are partners in the law firm Wiggin and Dana LLP.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review different types of trusts and the impact that state property dissolution statutes have on those trusts
  2. Identify how to design a trust to protect assets from claims made by divorcing spouses
  3. Develop successful litigation strategies when defending or seeking assets from a trust, in connection with property divisions

Credit Information

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Daniel Daniels

Wiggin and Dana LLP

Daniel L. Daniels is a partner in Wiggin and Dana's Private Client Services Department and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. He divides his time between the firm's Greenwich and New York offices. Dan focuses his practice representing business owners, private equity and hedge fund founders, family offices, corporate executives and other wealthy individuals and their families.

Dan has been included on Worth magazine's list of the top 100 trust lawyers in the United States. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America. (For more information about the standards for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, please click here). Also, for the second consecutive year, Dan has been ranked in Band 1 byChambers HNW, (for more information about Chambers rankings, please click here). Dan received his A.B., summa cum laude, from Dartmouth and his J.D., cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Dan is a co-author of Trusts and Estates Legal Strategies (2008 Aspatore Books) and has written for various publications, including Trusts and Estates magazine, Estate Planning magazine, Practical Tax Strategies magazine, the National Law Journal and Exempt Organization Review. He also has been quoted on trust and tax-related subjects in the Wall Street JournalKiplinger's Personal Finance andFinancial Planning.

Dan is a current or former member of the board of various organizations including the Greenwich Library and the Fairfield County Community Foundation.

Dan has a particular interest in working with owners of family- and closely-held businesses. He worked for several years in his own family's third generation family business. He is a member of the Family Firm Institute and Wiggin and Dana's Closely Held Business Practice Group.

Dan also partners with members of Wiggin and Dana's Probate Litigation group in handling significant trust and estate litigations. Dan has been named Lawyer of the Year for the Stamford area in the category of trust litigation by the editors of Best Lawyers in America. He has also served as special counsel in several large litigations involving the extent to which trusts are vulnerable to claims in divorce.

Dan and his wife and children live in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Steven Malech

Wiggin and Dana LLP

Steven Malech is a partner in the firm's Litigation Department and Chair of the firm's Probate Litigation Practice Group which represents beneficiaries, fiduciaries and creditors in disputes involving alleged violations of the Prudent Investor Act and its predecessors; alleged breaches of fiduciary duty; disputed accountings; and will contests. Over the past few years, Steve has represented clients in cutting edge probate litigation matters involving trusts and estates with assets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. He has also represented companies and individuals in a wide variety of business disputes and regularly counsels clients with respect to estate and trust management, litigation and other business issues. Steve is also a co-founder of our firm's Israel practice group. He represents a broad range of Israel-based businesses and individuals, collaborates with Israeli attorneys and intellectual property firms and travels to the country regularly.

Steve has given numerous presentations about strategies for avoiding disputed accounting proceedings to leading trust companies and financial institutions, as well as at The Heckerling Institute. He has also lectured on conservatorship and other litigation issues pertinent to elder care providers and advocacy groups.

Steve received his B.A. with special honors in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he served as an Associate Editor of the Insurance Law Journal. He is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York.


Michel L.

Erudite, well-presented and prepared program. A must see for appreciation of the real-life aspects attendant to the practice of trust, divorce and matrimonial law

Corrine L.

The instructors were prepared and were a pleasure to learn from them.


This was one of the better structured presentations with a nice balance between litigation and planning concerns. Both presenters were excellent.

Laurie S.

Very eye opening. I had no idea that items in trust and inheritances could be claimed in divorce in so many states. Thank you!

richard t.

Verywell presented and explained

Paul P.

Thank you

Deborah A.

The presenters were great. They presented the material clearly and are obviously very experienced in this area. I liked the way each of them spoke. They were confident, professional and I would want either of them to represent me if I was in the position to need their expertise. The material was very informative without being overwhelming. I would recommend this course.

Mary A.

Very informative and practical

Matthew A.

Great program.

Gertrude L.

They were both excellent.

Michael M.

Excellent program.

John S.

Useful presentation.

Simrit P.

Very informative.

Michelle M.


Matt M.

good job well worth it.

Mattie A.


Denise G.

Very informative/helpful.

Douglas V.

High caliber.

Stuart W.

Done very well.

John L.

Well done.

Gerard F.

Exceptional presentation

Alisha W.

Very helpful

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