One of the primary and most complicated factors in any divorce is the division of marital property. When an inheritance is involved, it can make things that much more complicated. Generally, inheritances are considered the separate property of their beneficiaries (What is the Difference between Community and Separate Property?). The specific circumstances surrounding the inheritance, however, can alter the court’s stance.
Texas: A Community Property State
Texas is a community property state. This means that any assets you and your spouse acquire as a married couple – that is not separate property, specifically – is marital property and is subject to a just and right division between the two of you in a divorce. While this just and right division does not necessarily mean an equal division, its intention is to provide each of you with your fair share.
If you inherited during your marriage, you probably have concerns about whether that inheritance is community property or not. In simple terms, no, your inheritance is your separate property. In the State of Texas, separate property consists of the following:
- All property owned by one spouse before marriage
- All gifts received by one spouse individually during the course of the marriage
- All inheritances received by one spouse individually during the course of the marriage
While these separate properties are not subject to division in divorce, you must be able to prove their separate nature with clear and convincing evidence, which is a high bar.
Factors that Can Complicate Inheritances
There are certain circumstances that can blur the line between community and separate property, including:
- If you add your spouse’s name to a title, deed, or bank account that is your separate property
- If you commingle marital funds into an account that represents separate property
- If you gift your spouse with separate property
- If you use marital funds in support of separate funds – for instance, if you use joint resources to pay taxes on property that you own separately
Protecting Your Inheritance
If you have concerns about protecting your inheritance from division in a Texas divorce, there are things that you can do to help establish the separate nature of your asset. These include keeping scrupulous records in relation to how you maintain and/or use the asset. Further, keeping your inheritance in a separate account that is in your name only and bypassing any commingling with marital resources can help legally establish that your inheritance is genuinely separate.
Do You Have Inheritance Concerns Related to Your Divorce? Consult with a Knowledgeable Attorney Today!
The division of marital property is a primary concern in every divorce, and if you have an inheritance or other separate property to protect, it can make the issue more urgent. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to aggressively advocating for your financial rights and for the best possible resolution of your case. Mr. Pritchard is on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us or call us at (254) 220-4225 today to consult a Killeen divorce attorney.