When a couple divorces, questions sometimes arise as to whether either party can claim a right to the other person’s inheritance gained during marriage. For instance, if a husband’s grandmother dies and leaves him the entire estate without mentioning his wife, his disposition of the assets may determine whether he would have to share them during divorce. In this article, readers can find more information on inheritance during the marriage, and they will learn how a divorce attorney in Walker, MN can help them protect their assets.
The Basics of Inheriting Property During Marriage
Typically, inheritances aren’t subject to the rules of equitable distribution because they are not marital property. Rather, an inheritance is regarded as separate assets belonging to the receiver, and they are not divided during divorce. However, state law determines how inheritances are treated once they are shared, and rules vary by jurisdiction. For example, if the inheritance is put into a joint account and used for marital expenses, it loses immunity. Commingling is critical; if separate assets are used to benefit the marriage, the inheritance may be divided upon divorce.
Inheritances Acquired Before Marriage
In some cases, spouses enter marriage with previously-acquired wealth through inheritance. State law determines how these inheritances are treated during a divorce. If inherited money is deposited in a joint bank account, or if marital funds are put into an inheritance account, commingling has happened. Otherwise, the inheritance belongs to the person who received it. Beneficiaries may want to consult a divorce attorney to find out how a common prenuptial agreement can help them keep their inheritance from being divided.
Generally speaking, commingling funds converts separate funds into marital assets, but some courts have held that part (or none) of the funds can remain separate if the party can prove that the money was never intended to benefit the marriage. However, the standard of proof is very high, and a person contesting the division of an inheritance will likely need the help of a local divorce attorney who handles these issues.
The laws surrounding inheritance during divorce are complex, and rules vary by location. Parties wishing to protect their inheritance funds from equitable distribution should consult a divorce attorney in Walker, MN to learn how they can protect their rights and their assets.