Whether inherited money or property is part of the marital asset pool is an important question as it determines how inherited money, property or other assets are divided after separation or divorce. The Family Courts will determine this, and will take a number of factors into consideration.
Some of the factors the Court may consider include:
How long ago was the inheritance received?
If a long time has passed between the inheritance and the separation, the asset is more likely to be treated as part of the family assets and divided between the parties. If the inheritance occurred close to, or during, separation it is much more likely that the Family Court will allow you to keep your inheritance and it not be put in the pool of marital assets to be divided.
What were the intentions of the deceased?
If the deceased had specific intentions for how the beneficiary should use the inheritance, then this may be relevant to how it is divided after separation. For example, if the deceased intended the inheritance to benefit the whole family, not just the named beneficiary then the inheritance will more than likely be considered part of the marital assets.
Who helped care for the deceased?
If the spouse or partner of the beneficiary helped care for the deceased this will also be taken into consideration. For example, if the deceased lived with the family, then it is more likely that the assets will be treated as belonging to the family and therefore be part of the marital assets.
Every case is different, and there may be many factors in your situation that will need to be taken into account.
If you are worried about where you stand in a family law property division 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.