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How can I protect my inheritance if I'm married?

Thinking of a loved one passing away isn't a pleasant thought for anyone; however, it is vital for anyone who stands to have an inheritance from the death of a loved one to understand some points about handling that inheritance. One important point is that if you are married or thinking about getting married, you have to understand the concept of comingling.

What is comingling?

Comingling your inheritance with marital assets means putting them all together. This can mean putting proceeds or money from the inheritance into a joint bank account. It can also mean using the inheritance in a way that benefits your marital assets.

What happens if an inheritance is comingled?

When inheritance assets are comingled, it can be considered marital property in some cases. That isn't to say that you will lose the entire inheritance if you end up getting a divorce. Instead, the court might decide that only a portion of the inheritance is marital property. When it isn't comingled, it can't be considered marital property.

Can an inheritance be protected if a divorce occurs?

There are some ways that you might be able to protect an inheritance if you end up getting divorced. The way that is usually the easiest to protect the assets is to keep them separate from marital assets. If you do comingle them, you will have to prove that the inheritance was never meant to be shared. That can be rather difficult, so it is vital that you understand how to meet the burden of proof if you have to go that route to protect your inheritance.

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and Divorce," accessed April. 16, 2015

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