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Did you commingle your inheritance?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Estate Planning |

When you’re getting divorced, you have to divide the assets that you own together. These are known as marital assets. The alternative is that there are some separate assets, which are things that you or your spouse may own individually. These do not have to be divided during a divorce.

This can get very complex when considering an inheritance. Is it a separate asset or a marital asset? It may depend on if it was commingled.

The initial gift

When the inheritance is first given to you, it likely counts as a separate asset. Most other things that you acquire during your marriage do count as shared assets and your spouse has a right to them. But an inheritance is sometimes an exception to this rule, and it can count as a separate asset, even if you’re already married when your own parents pass away and leave it to you.

But commingling it means mixing it together with the rest of your financial assets. One example of this is simply putting it into an investment account or a bank account that your spouse shares. Another example is using it to buy a family home or another major asset that the two of you will share.

If that inheritance has been commingled, then you both have a right to it and you likely need to divide it during the divorce. If it hasn’t, then you likely get to keep the entire inheritance to yourself and you do not have to give any portion of it to your ex. You can imagine that this often leads to disputes, so it’s quite important to understand exactly what legal steps to take if you are moving through a divorce this year.