How are inheritances handled during property division?

Property division in Kentucky raises many complicated issues. It is not always clear-cut when an asset will be considered marital property, and thus will be subject to property division, and when an asset will be considered separate property. This is especially true when it comes to an inheritance obtained during the course of the marriage.

In general, if a person receives an inheritance in his or her name only while married, that inheritance may be considered separate property. As separate property, the inheritance will not be subject to property division during a divorce. However, although the laws vary between the states, there may be some circumstances in which an inheritance may be considered part of the marital estate and thus subject to property division.

An inheritance may be considered marital property if it has been 'commingled' with marital assets and is used in a way that provides a benefit to jointly-owned marital property. For example, let's say that one spouse receives an inheritance from his or her grandfather while married, and places the inheritance funds in a jointly-held bank account. Then, the couple uses the funds in the account for marital expenses. This may be considered 'commingling,' and may cause the inheritance to be considered marital property. Or, say the inheritance funds are used to upgrade the couple's shared home. This may also cause the inheritance to be considered marital property.

The laws of commingling of inheritances are determined by each individual state, and this post cannot promise a specific result when it comes to determining how property will be divided during a divorce. A Kentucky divorce attorney may be able to educate individuals about how inheritances are treated during the property division process in their state.