Most people know that divorce involves splitting any assets or property the couple acquired for the duration of the marriage. But what happens if you receive an inheritance during your marriage? Does your inheritance become marital property?
In a nutshell, inheritance counts as a separate asset, but you need to make sure it stays separate. Naimi & Cerceo, divorce and family lawyers in Las Vegas, explain the basics of protecting your inheritance from your spouse.
Marital vs. Separate Property in Nevada
As a rule, marital property in Nevada includes any possessions either spouse acquired during the marriage. Wages, investment accounts, real estate, and other types of property count as marital assets—even if you own the asset individually.
Separate assets that each spouse retains individually after divorce include:
- Property that either spouse owned before the marriage
- Inheritance and gifts the spouses received during the marriage
- Assets listed as separate property in prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
How Inheritance Can Become Marital Property
Based on the information above, you may think that your inheritance is safe from any spousal claims during divorce. However, under certain circumstances, inheritance can still count as marital property in Nevada.
For example, let’s say that you inherit a sum of money after your aunt’s passing. If you place this sum in an account you hold jointly with your spouse and use the money to start a family business, your inheritance commingles with your marital assets and no longer counts as separate property.
Real estate property, like a house you inherit from your parents, can also become a marital asset if you add your spouse to the title. Your spouse may also gain partial ownership of the property if you use marital funds to renovate the house.
How to Safeguard Separate Assets
To avoid spousal claims on your inheritance, you should:
- Keep funds separate, even if you aren’t planning to divorce. . If you inherit real property, keep the title in your name only. If you receive money, place it in a separate account or a trust.
- Draft a postnuptial agreement. Premarital agreements don’t always cover inheritance or other significant changes in your financial status. Consider drafting a new, up-to-date agreement that lists which property stays separate in the event of a divorce.
- Work with a mediator. Reaching an amicable agreement with your spouse is always preferable to litigation. Mediation can help you work out a fair settlement and avoid a lengthy and expensive court battle.
A competent divorce lawyer can give you more information on the legal steps you can take when protecting your inheritance from your spouse.
Naimi & Cerceo: Protecting Your Finances During Divorce
Protecting your assets during divorce helps you keep your financial stability and secure your future. Naimi & Cerceo, experienced divorce and family law lawyers, will guide you through all the financial aspects of divorce, from child support terms to protecting your inheritance from your spouse.
Call (702) 901-4800 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in Las Vegas.