Is an Inheritance Always Subject to Property Division?
If you’re going through a divorce, you might be wondering if your spouse is entitled to any of your inheritance.
The answer to this question depends on several factors, including whether you commingled your inherited assets with your marital assets and whether you live in a community property state or an equitable distribution state.
In this post, we’ll explore these factors in more detail and help you understand what to expect when it comes to dividing your inheritance in a divorce.
Is Inheritance Always Subject to Property Division?
How an inheritance is divided during a divorce depends on state laws, among other factors.
Suppose that you live in a community property state. Any inheritance money you receive during your marriage is considered marital property and may be subject to property division in a divorce.
Many states, including Michigan, are not community property states. In these states, the division of inheritance and other assets is more complicated. For example, if you commingle your inheritance money with other marital assets, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of the inheritance funds.
However, if you can prove that a particular portion of the mixed asset is your own separate inherited property, then your spouse may not be entitled to any of the inheritance money.
It’s essential to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to get specific advice about how an inheritance will be treated in your divorce.
What Is Separate Property?
It’s important to know the difference between separate and marital property to understand how an inheritance may be divided in a divorce. Separate property is any asset that you owned before you were married or that was acquired during your marriage by gift or inheritance.
On the other hand, marital property is any asset that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage.
Separate property includes:
- Third-party gifts and inheritances
- Property that you owned before getting married
- Income generated from separate property
- Compensation for personal injuries that occurred before the marriage
- Property acquired in a divorce settlement
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you live in a community property state, all assets you and your spouse acquire during your marriage are considered marital property, even if they were given to just one of you.
Commingling of Marital and Inherited Assets
Commingling occurs when you mix your separate assets with your marital assets. For example, if you inherit $10,000 from a relative and then deposit the money into a joint bank account that you share with your spouse, the inheritance money has now been commingled with your marital assets.
This means that your spouse may be entitled to a portion of the inheritance money if you get divorced.
Talk to an Attorney to Protect Your Inheritance
Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional process. You might be worried about how your assets will be divided in the divorce and whether you’ll be able to keep your inheritance.
An experienced divorce attorney will help you understand how your state’s laws apply to your specific situation and what you can do to protect your interests. Talk to Gucciardo Family Law today to schedule a consultation.
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