Will I Lose My Inheritance in My Divorce?
Generally, assets received during a marriage are considered communal property and subject to being divided in the event of divorce. One exception is inheritance provided certain steps are taken. A divorce lawyer is essential for helping clients protect their inheritance when faced with divorce.
Attorney Jeffrey W. Goldblatt offers legal services for your divorce and inheritance needs in East Brunswick, NJ, Freehold, NJ, Wall, NJ, and surrounding areas. To discuss your concerns, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.
Are Inherited Assets Divided in a Divorce?
Assets gained during a marriage are generally considered communal property and will be divided in the event of a divorce. Inheritance is an exception.
In New Jersey, inherited assets are typically exempt from being divided in a divorce and remain the property of the spouse who inherited the assets whether they were received before or during the marriage.
Commingling Inheritance and Division of Marital Assets
Although an inheritance is considered separate property, there are situations in which it may be subject to division in a divorce. When inherited assets are commingled with marital assets, it essentially makes the inheritance part of the marital property.
One of the ways an inheritance is most often commingled is by placing the inherited money within a joint bank account. Placing the money in a joint account can be seen as the spouse who inherited the money sharing the income with the other spouse. This can make it difficult to separate the inheritance from the marital funds at the time of divorce.
Another common example of commingling inherited assets is using inherited money to purchase a family home. In the event of divorce, the house will be subject to equal distribution regardless of the inheritance.
How Can I Protect My Inheritance?
When a loved one passes and leaves property, money, or treasured heirlooms to someone, it is because they want the named person to have these things. Dividing inherited assets in a divorce doesn’t honor the wishes of a lost loved one. Accordingly, it’s important for those who have received an inheritance to take steps to maintain their inherited assets as separate property. There are several ways to protect inherited assets from being subject to division in a divorce, such as:
- Prenuptial agreement: For inheritance received before marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be used to identify inherited assets as belonging to one spouse, helping to keep these assets separate in case of divorce.
- Keep inheritance separate from marital assets: For inheritance received after marriage, keeping these assets separate from marital assets can help prevent them from being divided during a divorce.
- Speak with a divorce lawyer: Speaking with a divorce lawyer can help protect your inheritance, especially when there is no prenuptial agreement in place or the inheritance was commingled with marital assets. A divorce lawyer can assess the situation to determine the best case scenario.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Goldblatt Esq.
To learn more about options for protecting your inheritance from divorce, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Goldblatt Esq. at (732) 238-8700 to schedule a consultation.