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The problem with commingling your inheritance

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Property And Asset Division

When you first receive an inheritance, it likely belongs only to you. Even if you’re married, your parents can give the inheritance to you as a separate gift that is not intended for both you and your spouse. This makes it a separate asset, rather than one that is shared or owned jointly.

This inheritance can be commingled, however. This happens when you store it with other marital funds. The inheritance also becomes marital. For example, if you put your inheritance into a joint bank account that you share with your spouse, this commingles it and makes it a marital asset, even though it was previously a separate asset. Both of you have access to the account, so you both have ownership of the funds.

This is important during divorce

This becomes incredibly important if you and your spouse decide to get a divorce. Separate assets typically stay with the people who own them, and you don’t have to split them up. But marital assets generally do need to get divided between both people, so you do have to share with your ex.

An inheritance can be a very substantial amount of money. If you assume that it is a separate asset that you get to keep and ask for a divorce, you certainly don’t want to be blindsided when you find out that you have to split it with your spouse. That’s why it’s so important to understand the status of your inheritance prior to the divorce.

Dividing assets is only one of the complexities you may face as you end your marriage. Be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take at this time.