Can My Spouse Get Part of My Inheritance in a Divorce?
“Can my spouse get part of my inheritance in a divorce?” is a question that I deal with sometimes here in the office. The first off, I would like to remind you that Nevada is a community property state. This means that any assets that are obtained during the marriage are considered part of the marital estate and maybe subject to equitable distribution. Any other property is considered separate property and therefore is not subject to division between the parties.
Becoming Community Property
Inherited assets are considered to be separate property and, therefore, they are normally not subject to division between the parties. Being that an inherited asset is usually given to one person, it is normally not a part of the marital estate. That being said, inherited assets can be a tricky situation. Separate v. community property can actually quickly change if the inherited asset is commingled with marital assets.
For example, if you receive a large sum of money as an inheritance, to you only and not your spouse, but you place that money in a joint bank account with your spouse, then immediately you are commingling that inherited asset and now you are changing the definition of the asset from a separate property to community property.
Also, for example, say you inherit a home and it is only in your name. If your spouse puts significant amount of money into the house or makes significant amounts of repairs to the house, thus increasing the value of the home significantly, then now that home changes status from a separate property to a community property, to some extent.
If commingling does occur, and the inherited asset is now deemed to be a community property, it will be a very difficult battle and a high burden of proof for the spouse receiving the inheritance to prove to the court that the commingling did not have the intention of changing the designation of that property from separate to community.
Your takeaway should be, in order to keep your inheritance to yourself solely, and to continue to make it a separate property, do not commingle it with any marital assets. Do not put it in a joint bank account, keep it in a separate account that is is only yours and that you only have access to so that it does not accidentally become a community property if you wish to keep it as a separate property.
If you are concerned your inheritance may have been commingled with marital assets, or you feel you are entitled to your spouses inheritance, give our office a call to discuss your situation further. Our office can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.
For more information on the division of marital property, divorce, and other family law topics, check out our Family Law blog, podcast, or Family Law TV playlist on Youtube.