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Can you keep your inheritance during divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2023 | High Net-Worth Divorce

Going through divorce is already enough of a hassle without having to worry about where your assets will go.

This might come as an especially big concern to you if you gained an inheritance while married. Do you actually get to keep it?

Community vs. separate properties

As The Business Professor states, property in divorce falls into two categories: community and separate property. Inheritance typically falls into separate property, along with things that you owned before your marriage and gifts given directly to you. This is the property that you keep to yourself, and you do not need to divide it with your spouse.

Community property typically involves things that you and your spouse buy together, or that you and your spouse both have your names on. This can include physical land, houses, cars and so on.

When separate property becomes community

However, there are some instances in which something once considered separate property might become community property.

The most common example involves putting your inheritance money into a bank account owned by both you and your spouse. If both of your names are on the account, then you both have legal access to the money within.

Likewise, if you use your inheritance money to pay for something that has your spouse’s name on it – like a house – it counts as community property. The same applies in situations where you both spend money to purchase something, like a car.

Because of these situations, it is important to understand how property division works early in the marriage.

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