What Happens To Your Inheritance During A Divorce?

9 August 2022
 Categories: Law, Blog


Are you planning to get a divorce from your spouse, but you are worried about what will happen with splitting marital property? This can be especially confusing if you had an inheritance that was left to you by another family member that you have no intentions of dividing. Here are a few things you need to know about this unique family law situation.

Why Inheritance Is Typically Considered Personal Property

Be aware that in most situations, an inheritance is considered the personal property of the person that receives it. This means that your spouse cannot take it away from you because it is not considered marital property. That inheritance was given to you and you alone, since an asset can only be passed to a single person. This includes an inheritance that you received before or after a marriage happens. While this is the law that applies in most situations, there are ways that an inheritance can be considered marital property.

How Inheritance Can Be Considered Marital Property

There are a few different ways that an inheritance would go from being considered personal property to marital property. The main way this happens is by combining the inheritance with any shared marital accounts. For example, if you receive a sum of cash and put it in an account that is shared with you and your spouse, it would be considered marital property. There is no way for a judge to determine what money belongs to who once they are combined.

An inheritance can also be considered marital property when you use it for marital purposes. Even if the money is in its own individual account, using that money to regularly pay marital bills would make it be considered marital property. The exception to this would be if the inheritance money was used like a loan, and was later paid back using marital funds. 

How To Preserve An Inheritance During A Divorce

The best way to preserve an inheritance as your own is to keep it totally separate from your spouse. Make sure that it is in your own separate account and used for your personal purchases. Since things get complicated when assets start commingling, that's when you could get into an issue where the owner of the inheritance is confusing.

In addition, it is best to work with a family lawyer that can help ensure that you are doing things the right way during your divorce This will help ensure that your inheritance continues to belong to you after a divorce. 

For more information, go to websites for family law firms in your area.