Asset Protection Law Journal

Spendthrift Trusts in Ohio

 Ohio does not currently allow you to set up a Domestic Asset Protection Trust to protect your own assets.  But you can set up a trust that protects assets that you leave to a beneficiary other than yourself.  This kind of trust is commonly referred to as a “spendthrift trust”.  Many trusts that are formed for general estate planning reasons have spendthrift provisions. 

In 1963, the Ohio Supreme Court held that spendthrift provisions in a trust were not effective against the claims of a beneficiary’s creditors.  Twenty-eight years later, in 1991, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision and declared that spendthrift trust provisions were valid under Ohio law. 

One of my partners, Paul Fidler, recently spoke about this topic at the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Estate Planning Institute. The outline of his presentation provides more detailed information about this important kind of trust provision. 

Any trust that you set up for someone else’s benefit should generally include a “spendthrift clause” which will help to protect assets from claims of the beneficiary’s creditors. 

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Kenneth J. Laino of Schneider, Smeltz, Ranney & LaFond P.L.L. |
1111 Superior Avenue, Suite 1000,
Cleveland, Ohio 44114