If you’re contemplating
divorce and you expect to receive an inheritance in the near future, you may be
wondering if your spouse will be entitled to any, if not half of your
inheritance. This is not only a logical question, but it comes up regularly.
“What if I file for divorce and while it’s pending in the courts,
I receive an inheritance? Will my spouse be entitled to it under California’s
divorce laws?” is a question that is often asked by divorcing couples.
In this article, we explain how divorce impacts inheritances.
Inheritances Are Separate Property
California is a “community property state,” which means that
all income, assets, and property acquired
during a marriage are considered marital or community property. Under the community
property law, each spouse is entitled to 50% interest in marital (community
property), however, separate property remains separate.
Separate property is NOT subject to division in a divorce. Separate property
includes assets acquired before the marriage, gifts, and
inheritances received by one spouse alone during the marriage and property that was
deemed separate through a legally-valid
Keeping Inheritances Separate
If you are expecting an inheritance during your marriage or while your
divorce is pending, the key is to keep the inheritance separate. Do not
comingle the inheritance with marital funds by placing it into a joint
bank account, and do not use it to pay for marital property, such as a
mortgage or an auto loan, etc.
As long as you keep the inheritance entirely separate and do not let it
be placed into a joint bank account or let it be used toward the enhancement
or improvement of marital property, it will remain your separate property
and it will not be treated as marital property in the event of a divorce.
Disinheriting a Spouse in San Diego
We hope this article answered your questions about inheritances and how
they’re treated in a California divorce. To learn more,
contact our firm directly.