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Divorce & Inheritance

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.

What are Preliminary Financial Disclosures?

California is a community property state when it comes to divorce.Community property includes everything acquired during the marriage, such as assets, liabilities and pensions.

An important required step in the divorce process is preparing and exchanging preliminary financial disclosures. A judge will not grant a divorce without this information.

California law requires each party to fill out preliminary financial disclosure form FL-150, Income & Expense Declaration, and FL-142, Schedule of Assets and Debts which identifies all separate property and community property.

These forms are important because they help the parties and the court to identify the entire community estate. By preparing a preliminary disclosure, you disclose your financial situation – what you owed and owned with your spouse. Even though they may look easy to fill out, they are filled with legal complexities.

What happens if you or your spouse intentionally refuses to list all assets and debts? Negligent omissions of assets and debts, including separate property, can lead to devastating results for both parties. For example, you can lose out on your share of a community asset.

Never assume that any asset in your name alone, regardless of when it was acquired, is your own separate property.

Another consequence of not disclosing all assets and/or debts is possible court punishment to the guilty party.

According to California Family Code Section 2100(a), (b), (c) and 2120(a),“California law recognizes the vital importance of full and accurate disclosure of assets, liabilities, and financial circumstances at the early stages of a marital action in order to ensure a proper division of the community estate and fair and sufficient child and spousal support awards”.

If you would like assistance in completing your Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure forms or with any family law issue, please contact the family law offices of Holstrom, Sissung, Marks & Anderson, located in Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.

We are committed to providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your divorce and your family needs. We are here to protect you.

Don't Leave Your Estate In California's Hands

Every adult should have an estate plan. Whether your planning needs are simple or extremely complex, you need a plan that is customized to your assets, your family structure and your goals.

Whether you choose to have a Will or a Living Trust, both provide for the distribution of your estate upon your death. Deciding which fits your needs depends on your specific circumstances.

A Will is a legal document that allows you to choose your beneficiaries and leave them specific items from your estate. You will need to designate an executor to carry out your wishes. In addition, it gives you the chance to nominate a guardian if you have minor children. It is subject to probate and comes into effect upon your death.

As for costs to prepare, a Will costs less than a Trust; however, costs to probate a Will can be substantial.

Even though a Will comes into play upon your death, a Living Trust can start benefiting you while you are still alive. It allows you to transfer substantially all of your property into your Trust during your lifetime and it is revocable, which means you can make changes. It will be used to manage your property before and after your death, as well as provide how your assets will be distributed after your death. If you become disabled or incapacitated, the Trust is in place to manage your financial affairs. A great benefit is that it is not subject to probate and all provisions will remain private.

As for costs to prepare, fund and manage, a Living Trust costs more than a Will; however, it avoids probate costs if all assets were held by the Trust.

If you die without a Will or Living Trust, your estate will be handled and your assets distributed by the court – probably to your spouse or closest heirs. This may or may not be what you wanted.

Estate planning involves difficult decisions about your personal matters. It demands individualized solutions for your objectives.

Whether you’re just beginning the estate planning process, or you need to update an existing plan, contact the Orange County Family Law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke because we take pride in providing experienced counsel with excellent service in determining the right estate planning tools for your family.

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.

Divorce: Emotionally & Financially Devastating

Divorce, custody battles,child support, alimony, modifications or contempt actions can be emotionally and financially devastating for everyone involved.

You need to make financial and logistical adjustments, carefully monitor your legal rights and manage heightened emotions during this stressful time. If you have children, matters can be complicated further. While these issues are basically the same for most couples, you may face very specific concerns according to your unique position.

In California, the only reason needed to end a marriage is ‘Irreconcilable differences’. In addition, California is considered to be a community property state, which means all marital property is split 50/50.

Community property consists of:

  • Home – resident, rental and any vacation properties
  • Motor vehicles, recreational vehicles
  • Financial – bank accounts, pensions, any income earned
  • Other assets – jewelry, household furnishings, art collections
  • All debts incurred

Property not included in the division would be ‘separate property’, which means any property owned before the marriage took place, including an inheritance or bank accounts which was kept separate from marital accounts.

Issues that need to be decided upon include:

  • Spousal support – depending on the length of the marriage, etc.
  • Ability of one spouse to pay the other
  • Child custody, child support, visitation – if there are children involved

At Holstrom, Block & Parke, we help clients throughout Riverside County with a wide variety of child support matters including enforcement and modification issues. We do everything we can to ensure that you receive the maximum level of support available for your children.

We will work to ensure that the income figures are accurate and aggressively argue any special circumstances that might call for additional support. We will pursue every option available to obtain the most favorable possible result in your case.

If you need dependable advice about your options during the divorce process,contact the Riverside Family Law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke. We focus on you and your family, so you can focus on the future.

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.