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Important points about inheritance and divorce

Finding out that you have an inheritance coming from a loved one is usually a nice gesture during a difficult time in your life. The issue that some people don't realize is that you will have to deal with how this inheritance should be handled if you end up going through a divorce.

One factor that determines what happens with inherited property is whether it is considered separate property or marital property. While state law does have an impact here, there is another factor that has to be considered -- how the inherited property was handled during the marriage.

If you put the inherited property in with the marital property, it might be considered comingled. This could mean that you have to divide the inheritance as part of the marital property when you are going through the divorce.

One way that you can prevent this from occurring is by keeping the inherited property separated from marital property. This could prevent your ex from claiming that it was comingled with assets that should be divided.

If you have the ability to do so, you can also speak to the person who you think might leave an inheritance to you to let him or her know that he or she should leave it in your name only. This could set the intent that the property was meant only for you and not for you and your significant other.

In some cases, using trusts might help you to ensure that inheritances that you want to leave to your children aren't impacted by the divorce. Make sure that you learn about how you can do this so that you are using the right types of trusts.

Source: FindLaw, "How Is Inheritance Handled in Divorce?," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed July 26, 2017

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