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Hiding assets in trusts and LLCs

The divorce of Ed and Marie Bosarge makes state and national headlines for a good reason. The couple married in 1989 and now is in a drawn-out battle. Experts believe that Ed moved much of estimated billions in cash and assets into secretive ever-changing trusts set up in South Dakota (the state has become a haven for secret trusts set up by people from out of state) as well as complex ownership structures using limited liability companies.

The initial goal for ultra-wealthy couples was to reduce their tax burden, but the tactics are now used to cut spouses out of their money. Ed is attempting to leave Marie with about $6 million of the reported $12 million that is officially listed as the couple’s community estate. While it is believed that Mr. Bosarge maintains exclusive use and control of everything, his wife was eventually asked to leave their Houston mansion. She has no access to several other homes around the world, which includes a private island in the Bahamas, and no ownership stake of Quantlab Financial, which Mr. Bosarge co-founded in 1998 (nine years after the couple married).

A trial is scheduled to begin soon, but likely will be delayed because of the COVID-19 virus. However, an overdue court ruling may be the least of Mrs. Bosarge’s problems. Even if the judge awards more than $6 million, or rules that Bosarge breached his fiduciary duty or committed fraud, it will be difficult for Mrs. Bosarge to collect the money or gain control of the assets in light of the aforementioned financial planning.

A landmark case?

How this divorce plays out in litigation could have an impact on how the wealthy structure their estates and how high asset divorces will be handled in the future here in Texas. Those with concerns about their divorce or the use of trusts and LLCs would be wise to speak with an experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, Midland County, Ector County, and surrounding areas of the state. 

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