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Can I Keep My Inheritance During Divorce?

Let’s say you received a generous $5 million inheritance from your Uncle Bob last year. You were so sad to lose your Uncle Bob, but the legacy he left you made you feel loved and financially secure. Indeed, your family’s financial security — especially your retirement — was no longer a source of worry and doubt. Nevertheless, you recently received some difficult news from your husband of 25 years: He’s been having an affair and he wants a divorce.

After some deep soul-searching, you’ve accepted the fact that your husband was unfaithful, but what about your inheritance from Uncle Bob? Will your husband be able to take your future source of financial security in addition to breaking your heart? The truth is, it all depends on what you did with the inheritance money after you received it.

Las Vegas spouses who receive inheritances — and if they are the only ones named in the will — have the ability to keep the inheritance money as separate property. However, there are a couple circumstances in which your inheritance funds will likely be included in the marital estate and thereby be divisible during a divorce. Both these situations involve the “commingling” of funds.

Here are those circumstances:

  • If you deposited the money into a joint bank account.

  • If the inheritance is used to pay for joint marital projects that both spouses benefit from. For example, if the inheritance money was used to make improvements to a jointly-owned residence.

The above circumstances are quite common. Indeed, a lot of marriage partners keep joint accounts for all their finances. When one spouse receives a large inheritance, he or she may prefer to put the money into a jointly held account, simply because that’s how the couple has always done things in the marriage.

Did you receive an inheritance that you’re worried about dividing in your divorce proceedings? A Las Vegas divorce attorney can review your financial circumstances and the nature of your inheritance to determine your legal rights. An attorney can also help you try to keep your inheritance — or as much of your inheritance as possible — during your divorce proceedings.

Source: FindLaw, “Inheritance and divorce,” accessed March 01, 2017

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