Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

What happens to an inheritance in case of divorce?

An inheritance does not form part of the joint property of a married couple. Therefore, in simplistic terms, it would mean that, in case of a divorce, a person's inheritance will not be seen as communal marital property. Legally, an inheritance belongs to the recipient, if it is kept separate from a couple's other assets in New Jersey.

To the same extent, any future inheritance may also not be included in the calculation of the joint assets of the divorcees. On this topic, courts have determined that a person is entitled to make changes to the stipulations contained in a testament at any time. Money or property is not an asset until it has been received by the heir or heiress.

Anyone who wants to keep an inheritance separate from joint marital assets will have to ensure that the money is deposited in a bank account in his or her name only. No other money that could perhaps form part of the marital assets can be added to the money. If other monies that form part of the couple's assets are added to the inheritance, the balance of the inheritance will be considered as a joint asset.

New Jersey divorce law can be intricate and confusing, especially when it comes to the division of marital property and one's inheritance. People in the midst of a divorce may benefit from advice from a family law lawyer. While divorce agreements aim at the fair distribution of assets based on the circumstances of the parties, an inheritance is something special in most cases and worth fighting for.

Source:, "Divorce Law and Inherited Money," Jodee Redmond, accessed Aug. 23, 2018

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