Is My Inheritance Community Property?
Nevada is one of 9 states, as of this writing, that observes the community property system of asset distribution when dealing with divorces. This means that all assets and debts acquired during your marriage are community property, and will be divided as close to 50-50 as possible between you and your spouse if you divorce. That said, not everything is considered community property – it is possible to have separate property that belongs to you alone, and generally, inheritance is separate.
Inheritance As Separate Property
Nevada law defines separate property as anything one spouse owned before marriage, or anything that was acquired after marriage by “gift, bequest, devise, descent” or as a personal injury award. “Bequest” and “devise” are terms that signify inheritance – essentially, if you receive an inheritance, it will remain your separate property, as long as it was intended to be received by you alone (as opposed to your family, or you and your spouse together). The wording of the bequest matters in Nevada.
That said, if you wish for your inheritance to remain your separate property, you must be extremely careful not to commingle it with community property, because if separate property becomes commingled with community property, it may also become community property – if, for example, you inherit a sum of money, and deposit it in the same bank account with community funds, the entirety of the amount is likely to be classified as community property.
You Must Prove It Separate
There are several ways to keep your separate property separate, so as to avoid any potential issues if you and your spouse decide to divorce. Some of the most common include using a prenuptial agreement to specify that certain property will remain separate regardless of what happens to it, maintaining separate bank accounts, or in the case of real property, ensuring that only your name remains on the deed and that only your separate funds are used to maintain it.
If your separate property has become commingled with community property, you may be able to prove that it is in fact separate. The burden of proof is on you to establish this, and it can be quite difficult. The assistance of a forensic accountant is sometimes helpful in these situations, but above all else, consulting an experienced attorney to make certain that your case is as solid as can be is the most important.
Call A Las Vegas Family Lawyer
Defining separate and community property can be difficult, especially in the case of money or other inchoate assets. If you are confused about how to keep your separate property separate, contacting a Las Vegas family lawyer at the Kainen Law Group may help get your questions answered. Contact our offices today to speak to an attorney.