What Happens To Your Inheritance When You Divorce?

You may receive an inheritance before you are married, after your marriage, but before your divorce is started, or while in the middle of your divorce. This blog will explain what happens to your inheritance in all of those situations. I’ll assume that the inheritance was cash and not jewelry, artwork or some other physical personal property. However, the basic rules apply to cash and to personal property.

Inheritance before you are married: Any inheritance you receive before marriage is 100% yours. However, it only remains 100% yours as long as you keep the money in a separate bank account. If you deposit the inherited money into a joint bank account, then it is likely that the money will be considered a joint asset, and one that has to be divided 50/50.

Inheritance after you are married (but before the divorce is started): Provided the inheritance you receive after marriage is clearly designated to go to you, then that inheritance is 100% yours. However, similar to money received before you are married, the money only remains 100% yours as long as you keep the money in a separate bank account. If you deposit the inherited money into a joint bank account, then it is likely that the money will be considered a joint asset, and one that has to be divided 50/50.

Inheritance after the divorce is started: Provided the inheritance you receive after marriage is clearly designated to go to you, then that inheritance is 100% yours. Now that the divorce has started, there should be no reason that you deposit the money into a joint bank account. Yet, if you did, once again, any money deposited into a joint bank account would almost definitely be considered a joint asset, and one that has to be divided 50/50.

Therefore, if you receive an inheritance, before you file for your divorce, or even in the middle of a divorce, you can easily protect the amount that you receive. You need to directly deposit the inheritance into your own separate bank account. You should also document the amount of the inheritance, by photocopying the inheritance check and keeping that in a safe place. You should also keep a copy of the bank statement, showing the amount of the inheritance.

By taking these simple steps, your inheritance will be considered your “separate property” and therefore is not part of the marital assets.

If you have a question about your divorce, or how you can protect your inheritance, then contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes has represented countless clients in their divorces and can help you.

If you are thinking of getting divorced, and live in Suffolk County, Nassau County or New York City, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com.

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