If you are in the middle of a divorce or thinking about a divorce, you may have a question about whether you will have to share an inheritance with your spouse.
In the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, inherited funds are considered non-marital property. This means that if you inherit funds either before or during your marriage, they are your sole and separate property and are not subject to any claim by your spouse. That being said, in order to protect your separate property and preserve the “non-marital” label on inherited funds, they must be kept apart from any marital funds or marital property. If inherited funds are deposited into a joint bank account, commingled with marital funds in a separate bank account, or used to purchase something such as a home or an automobile during the marriage, the funds may be subject to division.
In the same vein, if you expect to receive an inheritance at some time in the future, that is also not subject to division in divorce.
One thing to keep in mind is that, even if assets are kept separate, the income from such assets can be counted when assessing the financial obligations of each party when setting alimony or child support.
If you are concerned about possible division or treatment of inherited funds, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be helpful tools to ensure your funds are safeguarded. An experienced family law attorney can help you evaluate your specific situation and plan for the future.