When a couple divorces, questions sometimes arise as to whether a party can lay claim to the other spouse’s inheritance. For instance, if a husband’s aunt dies and leaves him the entire estate, without mentioning his wife, it’s considered to be acquired during the marriage. The way the property is handled upon receipt can have an effect on whether the spouse will have to share the assets during a divorce.
The Basics of Inheriting Property During Marriage
In most cases, inheritances aren’t subject to the laws of equitable distribution because they aren’t regarded as marital property. Inheritances are treated as belonging to the person to whom they are bequeathed, and therefore they cannot be divided during divorce.
However, state laws govern the treatment of inheritances that are shared upon receipt, and those laws vary by state. For instance, if money is deposited into a joint account and used for marital expenses, Divorce Attorneys in Hartford WI, will tell clients that the inheritance loses immunity. Commingling is important. If assets are used to benefit the marriage, they’re no longer protected.
Inheritances Acquired Before Marriage
Sometimes, spouses enter marriages with prior wealth through inheritances. State laws govern how these inheritances are treated during divorces. If inherited money is put into a joint account, or if marital money is deposited into the inheritance account, the assets are commingled. If no commingling occurs, the assets are regarded as separate property, and the inheritor keeps the entire amount. In some cases, the easiest way to protect premarital inheritances is to get a solid prenuptial agreement with the help of Hetzel & Nelson LLC, who are Divorce Attorneys in Hartford WI.
Generally speaking, commingling converts any separate property into marital assets. However, some courts have held that part (or none) of the commingled funds can remain separate if the spouse can prove that the funds were unintentionally commingled. The burden of proof is very high, and someone is wanting to contest inheritance sharing will need a family lawyer who’s well-versed in these issues. If a spouse wants to know how divorcing will affect his or her inheritance, there are Divorce Attorneys in Hartford WI, who can offer legal advice and case strategy. You can also browse website for more information.
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