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You can take steps to access or protect an inheritance

When you get a divorce, one of the things to consider before signing any final settlements is the right to inheritance. Sometimes, there are questions about if you have the right to a part of an inheritance that your spouse received during your marriage, and it's worth looking into, especially if it's a large amount of money or property.

Normally, inheritances aren't subject to equitable distribution laws, because they aren't considered marital property. In most cases, the inheritance will belong solely to the person who received it during the marriage. However, if the inheritance has been shared between you or placed in a shared account like a shared banking account, that's when the situation gets trickier. The inheritance might lose its immunity and could be divided during the equitable distribution process.

The key to finding out if the inheritance should be split or not is looking at how it's been used. If the property wasn't kept separate, then you have a better chance of getting some of it in the divorce. In the case that you or your spouse enter a marriage with an inheritance, the same kinds of rules apply. As long as you keep it completely separate, then there's little your spouse could do to access it.

In the case that you comingled your funds but didn't intend to share the inheritance, you or your spouse may be able to protect an inheritance from the other person. There's a high burden of proof in that case, so you'll need to address why the funds were in a shared format even though they weren't meant to be shared between you and your spouse. Our website has more information on the steps you can take if you want to prove your inheritance wasn't intended to be used by both parties.

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