Marriage is oftentimes marked by an increase in sharing, with a mentality that everything that belongs to one person also belongs to the other. But with the high rates of divorce in the United States, is sharing everything always better? For those with inheritances, whether money, homes, or other valuables, it may be worthwhile to consider what will happen to those goods if the couple should get divorced.
How to Avoid Losing Inherited Property
While laws on inheritance vary according to the state the couple lives in, each case often plays out differently. States with laws on separate property may change their tune when that property has been used for both parties. For example, if one spouse has inherited a vacation home that they put their former spouse's name on, that may be seen as marital property by the court.
There are a number of ways to ensure that the property left to one spouse remains with them:
- Use a prenuptial agreement for the other spouse to give up any rights to the inheritances of the other spouse
- Keep documentation that shows the inheritance was only meant for one person
- Open a separate account in one person's name to keep any money or property that belongs to them in
- See if a trust can be used to gift property to another person with the specification that it will remain with the inheritor in the event they get divorced
- Avoid adding the spouses name to any titles from property obtained before the marriage or by inheritance
Protecting assets is important in the event of divorce, and especially in cases where the property obtained was very specifically intended for only one spouse. Anyone seeking to protect their assets should consult with a family law attorney that can establish the proper documentation for ownership in the event of divorce.