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From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Can a divorced spouse claim inheritance?
Getting divorced changes everything. This includes legal rights that you may have had during your marriage. A common question is if an ex-spouse can take an inheritance that was received during a marriage. An example would be you inheriting $20,000 from an aunt during your marriage. It really depends on what you do with the inheritance when you received it. This affects whether or not an ex receives a portion of it when you divorce.
What are the rights of inheritance during marriage?
Marital property does not include inheritances. This means that they are not subject to division of property during divorce proceedings. Inheritances are the property of the beneficiary.
However, if you shared your inheritance, it may be subject to division depending on the laws of your state. The legal term is commingling. For example, if you inherit $20,000 cash, and deposit it into a joint bank account, this becomes marital property. Another example is using that $20,000 to improve the marital home. This is the key point. If the inheritance is used for marital benefit, then it may not be considered separate.
Assets Prior to Marriage
A spouse may enter a marriage with wealth on their own. Marital property can include an inheritance. State law determines that issue.
Consider a prenuptial agreement. Visit a lawyer to consult them on premarital agreements to be sure your situation applies.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Divorce Lawyer
If you have more questions about inheritance and divorce, schedule a free consultation with a divorce lawyer in your area. Inheritance laws are complicated. It is not advisable for you to proceed without legal counsel. Many divorce lawyers, offers consultations for free and can give you some advice and an overview of how your inheritance may or may not be subject to division in your divorce.
More Planning Questions?
Dealing with inheritance during a divorce is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Divorced Inheritance
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining a divorced spouse’s right to an inheritance. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
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Peter Klenk is the founding member of Klenk Law, a seven attorney boutique estate planning law firm. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Florida. Peter Klenk received his Masters in Taxation LL.M. from NYU Law School and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He served his country in the Navy JAGC during Desert Storm. Easy to talk to, feel free to call Peter for an appointment. We will make the process as easy as possible!
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