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What Happens to an Inheritance During a Divorce?

Thursday, May 21, 2015
What Happens to an Inheritance During a Divorce?

In California, the division of property during the divorce is based on the community property / separate property principle. If you are claiming that certain assets like inheritances are separate property and not marital property, then you have to provide proof that it is separate property.

If you have received an inheritance, that is typically considered your own separate property. However, that can also depend on how you have handled the inheritance after you received it. There is a burden of proof on you to prove that the inheritance is separate property, and is not subject to community property laws.

Many couples make the mistake of not bothering to keep their inheritance as separate property, and mingle it with their marital assets. That creates confusion, and could even mean that your inherited property could be considered as a marital asset, and could be subjected to the 50/50 division principle that is in effect in California.

For example, if you use your inheritance to buy a significant asset soon after you received the inheritance, you might still be able to prove that the asset is your separate property, even if the inheritance funds were deposited into a joint bank account. However, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to prove that the purchase was from your inheritance, and not from a marital asset.

If you have made the mistake of not bothering to keep your inherited property separate, and there is now confusion now about whether it is separate property or marital property, it doesn't mean that all is lost. Get legal help from an experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney immediately to protect your rights. You may be to walk out of the marriage with your inheritance considered 100% separate property, and not eligible for division.


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