When you inherit assets like property, money, or jewelry either before or after you get married, it’s important that you protect your inheritance in the event that things with your spouse don’t work out. While it’s not a pleasant scenario to imagine, unexpected issues arise in relationships every day. And unfortunately, some marital issues cannot be worked through. That being said, it’s important to ensure your assets are protected no matter what.
The Risks Of Commingling Assets
When you commingle inherited assets, it means you legally declare that the assets belong to both you and your spouse, even if only one of you originally inherited them. This is risky because the assets then legally become joint property, meaning your spouse can claim partial ownership of them if you two were to split up. While we understand wanting to share everything with your spouse, commingling assets can prove more risky than it’s worth.
Save Documents That Prove The Inheritance Was Meant For You
If someone in your life has gifted you money, property, cars, or other assets as your inheritance, it’s important you keep the documentation that stipulates these assets are meant for you, and you alone. Many estate plans include explicit instructions about inheritances – so if you have it, keep it in a safe place.
If Divorced, Your State May Ignore Mentions Of A Spouse
Once your divorce is legalized by the court, some states don’t recognize mentions of a spouse since that person is no longer legally your spouse. While inheritances are usually left to a single person, sometimes an asset like a house is designated as an inheritance to a married couple. In this case, please seek advice from a divorce attorney.
Similar to prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements exist to protect you and your inheritance after you get married, in case you get divorced. Postnups have a certain set of criteria that must be met in order to be considered legal, otherwise they’ll be rejected as a legal document during court proceedings.
Keeping Your Assets In A Trust
Many people place their assets in a trust with themselves or their children, and you can choose a revocable or an irrevocable trust. The type of trust that’s right for you will depend on your assets and how complicated your estate is, so please consult with an estate planning attorney who can advise accordingly.
For more information about how to protect your inheritance from your spouse, or if you have any questions about your estate, please contact our team at SCC Legal today or visit us at: https://www.scclegal.com/