If you’re getting divorced, you may be worried that the inheritance that was left to you in your parents’ estate plan is going to go to your spouse. Of course, you’re probably not concerned that they would get the entire thing, but they may be demanding a share of that inheritance. This can be frustrating because you know that the money was set aside for you and giving it to your spouse feels like going against what your parents wanted.
Thankfully, there are two important ways that you can protect an inheritance so that you get it and it does not get divided during the divorce.
Setting up a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement
If you haven’t gotten married yet, you can use a prenuptial agreement to ask your spouse to waive their right to the inheritance in a divorce. If you’re already married, you can ask them to sign a postnuptial agreement before you begin the divorce proceedings. Either way, this legally-binding contract means that the inheritance is yours alone.
Avoiding commingling the money
If you don’t have these agreements in place, the best thing you can do is to keep from commingling the money and allowing your spouse to have access to it or to use it. Don’t mix it with your other assets. Don’t put it in your joint bank account or invest it in your joint portfolio. Keep the money separate so that you can say it was never intended for your spouse at all and they have no claim to it.
If you’re involved in a complex financial divorce, make sure you know about all of the legal options at your disposal.