It is possible that you will be able to keep inheritance money that you received while married but it will depend on your circumstances. Each case is different, but here is a rough guide on what can happen with inherited money if you separate from your spouse of partner.

 

What is the best way to keep money I inherit during a separation?

The best way to ensure you keep your inheritance money is to come to an amicable agreement with your former spouse or partner on how you would like to divide your assets. This will require good communication channels and a willingness to negotiate and compromise by both parties. Such an agreement can be formalized by applying for consent orders through the Family Court or signing a Binding Financial Agreement with your lawyer.

 

If we can’t agree on inherited money what will happen if we separate?

If you can’t come to an agreement, then it will be up to the Family Court to determine whether or not your inheritance is considered part of the pool of marital assets to be divided or whether it is solely your property.

One person named in a Will – In most cases, only one member of a couple will be named as a beneficiary of a Will from parents or family members. If it is money that is inherited it is also very common for the funds to be used for the betterment of the family, such as house renovations, holidays or even just bills and household expenses. When this is the case, the Court will often find that the inherited money is a contribution to the marriage made by the person who inherited it. If this occurs the money is considered part of the marital assets and usually not returned to them when the assets are divided.

On the other hand, if the beneficiary took steps to keep their inheritance separate from the rest of the family assets, the Court will be more likely to recognise this and allow them to keep the money.

Both parties named in the Will – In the rare case where an inheritance is clearly given to both members of a couple, it is likely that the asset will be part of the general pool of marital assets to be divided between the parties.

 

If you are worried about where you stand in a property division with a family law matter or to find out what steps to take next call into our office and talk to a family law expert at Dawson & Gardiner. Phone: 02 4954 8666.