Long, Murphy & Zung, P.A.

What happens with my inheritance when I divorce?

When it comes to divorce, Florida is what's known as an equitable distribution state. This means that when a couple divorces, any property that they acquired while married generally is divided up fairly between the two spouses.

With inheritances, though, they're not treated the same as other marital property. Instead, under most every jurisdiction's laws, inheritances are seen as separate property, even when they were received during a marriage. As such, they generally don't get divided up during a divorce.

There are exceptions to this rule, though. One instance in which an inheritance may actually be considered as marital property in an equitable distribution state is if the proceeds are deposited into a shared bank account.

If the funds are later used to pay household bills, such as repairs on the marital home, then they may no longer be considered to belong just to the receipient spouse, but instead both. This is known as comingling inheritance.

There are some cases in which an inheritance received prior to a marriage can become a marital asset. In some jurisdictions, laws on the books allow inheritances that were originally received by one spouse prior to the marriage to also belong to their new spouse's as well. This is likely to happen if the funds are deposited into some type of joint account.

One of the surefire ways to avoid this happening is by signing a prenup with your partner before you marry.

If you're getting divorced and you're looking to gain a better perspective as to how your inheritance might be split when you do, then a Naples attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and divorce," accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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