Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

I’ve Hidden My Trust Fund for 15 Years. Do I Finally Tell My Spouse?

TrustA 44-year-old man writes to the NYT Ethicist because he has been keeping a secret from his spouse: a trust fund.

He has been married for ten years and together for 15, and he has a trust fund providing a monthly income of $25,000. Despite repeatedly assuring his dedicated doctor spouse that they don't need to work, the man has never disclosed the trust fund. The dilemma revolves around whether to reveal this financial truth, as family members advise against disclosure, but the burden of the secret is becoming challenging.

The columnist suggests that, although the first date may not have been ideal, the man should have disclosed his trust fund once the relationship became serious. 

Keeping such secrets can be burdensome over time. The recommendation is to reveal the truth quickly, as delaying any longer may complicate matters further. Anticipated challenges include the spouse questioning what else has been hidden and reflecting on the deception facilitated by apparent disinterest in daily activities. Seeking couples counseling is advised, acknowledging that trust is fundamental to a healthy relationship.

For more information see Kwame Anthony Appiah “I’ve hidden my Trust for 15 years. Do I finally tell my Spouse?”, The New York Times, August 11, 2023.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (University of Virginia) for bringing this article to my attention.


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