Regardless of your current situation, a divorce can be emotionally draining, financially taxing and stressful for everyone involved.
Whether you’re on the receiving end or the giving end of an inheritance, divorce can throw a curve ball into your plans for the money. Inheritance rights can become complicated during a divorce – your spouse may be able to claim a part of your inheritance, as part of the property settlement agreement. This is where it is highly recommended to have the an experienced divorce attorney give you a clear understanding of what monies are considered marital property and should be included during the settlement agreement.
If you have received an inheritance while married, you run the risk of turning your inheritance into community property if you commingle the inherited funds or property. Commingling is the act of mixing the funds belonging to one party with those of another party. For example, placing inheritance funds into a joint account will commingle the inheritance – thus, making it marital property.
However, on the other hand, if you receive an inheritance while you’re married, it’s yours – as long as you keep it separate from marital assets.
So, if you divorce down the road and your inheritance remains separate property, the court won’t order you to give a portion to your spouse as long as you take some precautions:
- Consult with an attorney to draw up a post nuptial agreement, for extra protection, stating that your spouse has no interest in your inheritance in the event of a divorce – make sure he or she signs it.
- Don’t do anything with your inheritance that might make it appear that you intended to share it with your spouse. The court may consider it marital property in that case.
- If you decide to leave your married child an inheritance, it is wise to transfer your bequest to her through a trust rather than a last will and testament.
To learn more about how you can protect your assets whether you are married or about to be, or thinking of divorce there are still options available for you to safe guard your finances, click here.
Another matter to keep in mind is that most people who are marrying do not often think about protecting themselves from their future spouses. After all, marriage is supposed to be forever. However, in California and the rest of the country, about half of first marriages end in divorce.
Dissolving a marriage brings about financial conflicts, including inheritance rights. Although this may be a very difficult time in your life, it is important to understand that an experienced family divorce lawyer can make a real difference in not only guiding you through the legal process, but also helping you secure what you deserve.
Contact the family law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke with convenient offices in Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. We will answer your questions and address your concerns with the importance they deserve.