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Maryland family law: Is an inheritance shared property?

In Maryland or elsewhere, it is not uncommon for one or both spouses to receive some sort of inheritance during the course of a marriage or even before the union is made official. If a couple chooses to divorce, either party may believe that the funds or property granted in an inheritance are subject to division. This, however, is not necessarily the case. Under the right circumstances and with the assistance of a family law attorney, this type of asset may be kept separate.

Technically, an inheritance is not considered to be marital property. Of course, what one does with the newly acquired asset may change how it is handled in the event of divorce. For instance, if money is kept as personal property, such as in a separate account and not commingled with marital funds, then it can remain separate property and not be subject to division. However, if inheritance funds are used for joint marital expenses, then the money may be up for grabs -- so to speak.

Those who wish to protect their inheritances from being included in the property division stage of divorce do have options. Those who receive money or property before getting married may want to consider protecting those assets with a prenuptial agreement. A family law attorney can provide greater detail about how this will work. If inheritances are received during the marriage, though, avoiding commingling of assets is key.

For couples in Maryland and elsewhere, wanting to keep inheritances protected in the event of divorce is understandable. If the right steps are not taken following the receiving of an inheritance, one's soon-to-be ex may have the ability to successfully make claims on any money or property received. With the assistance of a family law attorney, the appropriate actions can be taken in order to keep inheritances in the realm of separate property.

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and Divorce", Accessed on Sept. 2, 2016

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