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Can my soon-to-be ex-spouse take part of my inheritance?

| Oct 3, 2018 | Property Division

A sudden influx of inherited money is a boon for all families. However, what will happen to your inheritance in the event you get a divorce? Will you get to keep the entirety of your inheritance? Will your ex-spouse take part of these assets? The answers to these questions may be different depending on what you did with the inheritance after receiving it.

On a very general level, an inheritance remains the individual property of the spouse who receives the inheritance. In other words, if your uncle passed away while you were married — or even before you were married — and left you a considerable sum in his will, these assets will remain classified as separate property under your individual ownership. There are, however, some very important exceptions to this rule, and every married person who plans to receive an inheritance needs to be aware of them.

When an inheritance is shared among the spouses, it will be viewed as “commingled.” As commingled property, the inheritance could then be viewed as a part of the joint marital estate. Your inheritance might become commingled with the marital estate if you deposit it in a joint bank account or use the assets to help pay for joint marital expenses. In these instances, it’s possible for your inheritance to stop being separate property and become divisible between you and your spouse upon divorce.

Are you afraid that you could lose the right to treat your inheritance as separate property during your divorce proceedings? You may want to seek legal counsel immediately to gain more clarity about your property rights.


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