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Protecting your inheritance from divorce

If you and your spouse are headed toward divorce, you may some concerns about protecting resources you received from your family. Under general divorce laws in every state, including Florida, inheritances are generally protected separately from other types of property. Whereas marital property must undergo fair division in a divorce, inheritances usually do not qualify as marital property. However, there are some circumstances that can complicate this issue.

Let's suppose you and your spouse have been married for a few years when one of your relatives passes away and leaves you an inheritance of $100,000. Under the law, that money probably does not count as marital property — unless you commingle these funds with other marital property. If you choose to spend the inheritance on property of some kind, that property generally becomes marital property.

Similarly, if you take the inheritance and place the funds in a shared account with some of your spouse's assets, the distinctions between inheritance and marital property can get very blurry. In general, protecting your inheritance requires keeping it separate from other assets that might compromise its status as non-marital property.

If you have any further concerns about your inheritance and the way that a divorce may affect it, you can consult with an experienced divorce attorney to create a strong strategy to protect your family's resources in your divorce. The sooner you can begin building these protections, the better. The longer you wait to begin protecting your inheritance from your impending divorce, the less of it you may be able to save in the process.

Source: Findlaw, "Inheritance and Divorce," accessed Aug. 04, 2017

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