When named as the beneficiary of a will or trust, it’s important to honor the wishes of the creator of those documents. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which the inheritance you are left with could be vulnerable, such as in a divorce. If you are separating from your spouse, understanding your legal options to protect the funds you’ve inherited is essential. As such, you’ll want to contact an experienced Los Angeles division of assets attorney as soon as possible to help you navigate this complex process. Keep reading to learn more.
How Can I Protect My Inheritance During a Divorce?
If you are the beneficiary of an inheritance, it’s essential to understand how to shield your inheritance from your spouse should you get divorced. The most essential thing to note is that California is a community property state, meaning martial assets can be split evenly between spouses during a divorce by the courts. Generally, marital assets are any funds or property that are obtained during your marriage.
It’s imperative to avoid co-mingling your assets. In general, an inheritance is not considered marital property. However, if you place the funds in a joint bank account or use them to purchase your family home, it can then be deemed marital property. As such, it’s in your best interest to keep your inheritance separate from your regular finances.
You’ll also want to ensure you keep all your files and records pertaining to your inherited assets. This includes trusts, wills, and statements that document the details of your inheritance.
If possible, you can also create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Doing so allows you the opportunity to work with your fiance or spouse to detail how your assets will be divided if you divorce. As such, you can ensure you use language to protect your inheritance.
Will Inherited Funds Impact Alimony Payments?
If you have received considerable funds via your place as a beneficiary, you may wonder if this will impact how much you will pay in spousal support. Generally, if you have not yet gained access to these assets, it will not influence how much the courts will order you to pay.
However, if you did receive your inheritance prior to your divorce, it will impact how much the court’s rule you should pay toward your spouse for spousal support. Similarly, you may find that if your ex-spouse is still unmarried and requires alimony, your payments can be modified to increase the amount. However, if you are the recipient of alimony and receive your inheritance, your spousal support payments may be decreased or eliminated as a result.
At the Zitser Family Law Group, we will do everything possible to help you navigate the complexities of property division during a divorce. Contact us today to learn how we will assist you through this time.