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Protect your inheritance in a divorce

The property division portion of your divorce will involve assessing everything you own as a couple and splitting it in an amicable way. For the most part, you have to consider every asset you own. However, there are exceptions. You do get to have exclusive rights to property you owned prior to the marriage. You may also get an exemption for inheritance. 

In general, according to Forbes, inheritances are not marital property, but it depends on the inheritance. If you have a trust, you could run into issues keeping it separate from your marital property. The distinction between a trust becoming divisible and remaining separate lies in its details. 

Keeping it separate 

The most important thing about any type of inheritance is that you must keep it separate. You cannot use it in the way you would use marital property or it becomes marital property. This means not depositing money into a joint account or using the money to purchase something that you jointly own. You need to treat it as yours and only yours in every way. 

Including specifications 

The trust itself should have specific language that states it is not meant to be marital property. It should also state that it cannot be part of a property division in a divorce. 

Planning ahead to meet requirements 

If you do not keep your inheritance as separate from your joint accounts or you use it to buy things you will both use during your marriage, then the court can rule it has become marital property. With this distinction, it means the court can divide it as it sees fit. It can often be difficult to keep it separate, which is why specifications in the trust can help as well. Of course, you need to plan ahead to include such specifications, but this is something to note for the future to avoid issues.