Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

Will an inheritance be split as a marital asset?

When you're going through a divorce, one question you might have is about who is entitled to an inheritance. When you inherit money or assets during your marriage, those assets aren't considered to be marital property. Instead, the property is assigned to the person who received it as separate property. For example, if your uncle passes away and leaves you a boat in only your name, then it goes to you. If your uncle leaves you a boat and includes your spouse's name as well, then you both have a share of that asset.

If you decide to share your inheritance, then it may be considered to be marital property when you go to court. For example, if you inherit $100,000 and place it in a joint banking account, the court and your soon-to-be ex can argue that it was intended to be shared as a marital asset between you. Likewise, if you purchase a property for your family with the money, it's no longer inheritance and now converted into marital property.

If you have an inheritance from before your marriage, it too is generally considered to be separate property. If you decide to comingle funds, know that it could leave those funds open to division if you or your spouse seek a divorce.

In any situation like this, it's a good idea to opt for a prenuptial agreement. If you didn't have one before you got married, your attorneys can help you with a postnuptial agreement that designates what happens to an inheritance upon divorce. That way, you both understand what happens to those funds and no arguments should come up later.

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and Divorce," accessed March 03, 2017

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