The Vermont Supreme Court ruled today that it is proper for the Court to consider the expectation that a spouse may receive assets by testamentary devise or revocable trust when dividing marital property.
In the case handed today, the Court stated that, while a beneficial interest in the revocable trust is not marital property, it may be considered in arriving at an equitable distribution of the marital property. Wife relies for this position on 15 V.S.A. § 751(b)(8), which provides, “[i]n making a property settlement the court may consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to: . . . (8) the opportunity of each [party] for future acquisition of capital assets and income.”
Other jurisdictions that refuse to follow this rule generally agree that to base a division of property, which is not ordinarily subject to modification, upon the possibility of a future inheritance might often prove to be unfair in the light of subsequent events.
No doubt this will lead to arguments over just how likely the inheritance is. Property division in a divorce order is a certain thing. Future inheritance is not. Yet it's fair game now in a Vermont divorce.