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Comingling Your Inheritance: Marital Or Separate Property Rights?

If you decide that a divorce is right for your situation, one of the things you may have to consider is how inheritances and divorce work. If you received an inheritance, you likely want to preserve that money or those assets for yourself.

Usually, when you receive an inheritance, that inheritance isn’t subject to equitable distribution. By law, inheritances aren’t marital property; instead it’s property that goes to a sole individual. There are some exceptions that you should know about, though. For instance, if you have placed the inheritance into a joint bank account, then you may have created a comingling of your inheritance. That means that it now may be treated as a marital asset and may not be protected from equitable distribution rules.

Laws specify how an inheritance received before marriage is treated, but usually, the inherited funds will be considered separate property as long as the funds are kept separate during the course of the marriage. For this reason, it’s wise to only withdraw certain amounts for your marriage from a separate account or to place only what you want to share into a joint banking account.

If you didn’t intend to share those funds but did comingle, it’s possible to still get that property back as separate property in some cases. If you can show that you didn’t intend to share the funds, then the court may rule in your favor. This is a complicated situation that your attorney may need to work with you on, since you will be forced to provide proof for this discrepancy. Our website has more on divorce and protecting your assets, so you can learn more about what to do in circumstances like these.

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