If you are planning to file for divorce, you might be wondering whether you can keep your inheritance or whether it would be divided along with other marital assets. The short answer is — it depends. Depending on various factors, your inheritance might be considered separate property (which you can keep) or marital property (which will be divided between you and your spouse).
Led by top-rated divorce attorney Jay Davis, the legal team at Davis Law Group knows that an inheritance from someone in the family not only has financial value, but also has sentimental value. We have handled a wide range of divorce cases over the years and know how courts tend to divide what they consider to be marital assets. We will fight hard to protect your inheritance and make sure you receive your fair share of the marital assets.
Inherited Property in a Massachusetts Divorce — What Does the Law Say?
Massachusetts law does not differentiate between separate property and marital property. In the event of a divorce, the court has the authority to divide all the assets owned by the couple — including inherited property — in a fair and equitable manner.
Circumstances Under Which an Inherited Property Might Be Considered Separate Property
Property Inherited Before Marriage and Not Commingled During Marriage
If you inherited the property in question before you got married and if your spouse did not contribute to it or benefit from it, the court might consider a separate property and allow you to keep it. For example, if you received a sum of $200,000 from one of your relatives and put it into a separate account, the court is unlikely to divide it.
Inheritance Received Just Before the Divorce
If the inheritance in question was received just before you — or your spouse — decided to file for divorce, the court will most likely consider it separate property because your spouse did not contribute to it or benefit from it in any way.
If you are named in someone’s will and set to receive an inheritance in the event of their death, the court is unlikely to divide it, since you only have an “expectancy interest” in the asset and have no control over it.
If the person who is planning to leave the inheritance changes their mind and amends their will, you might not receive anything. So, the court is unlikely to take your future inheritance into account while dividing your marital assets.
It should be noted that under Massachusetts law, the term “marital property” includes all assets owned by the couple at the time of divorce — including those that were acquired or inherited before the marriage. So, you should not assume that your inheritance is safe just because you received it before you got married.
Contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Davis Law Group today to take the necessary steps to protect your inheritance and to make sure your interests and rights are not violated by your spouse’s side during the divorce.
Circumstances Under Which an Inherited Property Might Be Considered Marital Property
Property Inherited Before Marriage But Commingled During Marriage
If you inherited the property in question before you got married, but if your spouse contributed to it or benefited from it during the course of your marriage, it will most likely be considered marital property.
Let us assume that you inherited a residential property from your great aunt before your marriage. If you and your spouse lived in it for a significant period of time or if your spouse contributed to the maintenance of the property, it will no longer be considered separate property, since it has become commingled during the course of your marriage.
Similarly, if you inherit a sum of money from someone in your family before your marriage, and if you put it in a joint account after you get married, and if your spouse contributes to it, it will be considered marital property and divided equitably in the event of a divorce.
Property Inherited During the Course of Your Marriage
If the inheritance in question was received during the course of your marriage and if your spouse contributed to it or benefited from it in any way, it will most likely be considered marital property, since it is woven into the fabric of your marriage.
Want to Protect Your Inheritance? We Can Help You!
If you are about to file for divorce and believe that your inheritance might be at risk, do not waste any time and get in touch with the divorce attorneys at Davis Law Group today.
We have a team of exceptionally skilled divorce attorneys headed by Jay Davis, who is one of the most successful and accomplished family law attorneys in Massachusetts. We know how courts tend to divide assets in fault and no-fault divorces and we can take the steps needed to protect your inheritance.
To find out how you can protect your inheritance, call us today at 617-221-3548 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Massachusetts family law attorneys.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
Thank you for reading. Need to talk? 617-221-3548