Has your marriage struggled to maintain a healthy level? Do you realize that there is no way to fix the issues you and your spouse have? If so, divorce is likely the next step if you have already gone through counseling. As you work through the divorce process you will begin dividing assets. One asset that is always considered separate property is an inheritance.

Why is inheritance considered separate property? For the most part, inheritance is separate property because of the laws that govern how a person can inherit money upon the death of someone else. The person who received the inheritance from their family member is the sole owner, even if married, preventing it from being split between a divorcing couple.

There are three circumstances where inheritance can be considered community property and, therefore, divided in a divorce. The first circumstance is if the recipient deposited the inheritance into a joint account with their spouse. The second circumstance is if both spouses, during the marriage, were named as beneficiaries of the inheritance in the decedent’s will.

The third circumstance where inheritance can wind up being considered marital property is if it is used to make upgrades to the marital property. So, if the money is used to build an addition, put on a new roof, to remodel a bathroom, finish the basement or complete any other project; that value added to the home is marital property.

Separate property in a marriage is any property that was brought into the marriage by one of the spouses and not considered marital property. Inheritance falls into this category even if it was acquired by a spouse during the course of a marriage in West Palm Beach.