United States v. Harris

A federal lien and garnishment attach to the beneficiary’s interest in a spendthrift trust even if the trust gives the trustee sole discretion over distributions and even if the beneficiary disclaims his interest in the trust.  A beneficiary of a spendthrift trust established under California law has a sufficient right to payment to make the beneficiary’s interest “property” subject to a federal lien and garnishment even if the trust purports to allow the trustee absolute discretion as to whether to make distributions to the beneficiary.  Furthermore, the beneficiary cannot defeat the lien by disclaiming his interest in the trust.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (per curiam); April 20, 2017; 2017 WL 1404198

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