If you or your spouse has inherited property and you are now thinking about getting a divorce, you may be worried about how the inheritance will be impacted. Generally speaking, inheritances are not considered marital property in Michigan, even if a person was married when they received it. Instead, inheritances are classified as separate property. Still, it is important that you understand what the law says about inheritances during divorce, as there are times when they are subject to division.
To further understand why inheritances are not typically considered marital property, you must first understand how property is classified during divorce. In the majority of circumstances, any property acquired before the marriage is deemed as separate property. This includes assets as well as liabilities, such as debt. Any property acquired from a third party and considered a gift is also classified as separate property, which generally protects inheritances.
With gifts such as inheritances, it usually does not matter whether the gift was received prior to the marriage or during the marriage. As long as you treat it properly, an inheritance is not typically classified as marital property, and they are not subject to property division laws.
There are many different situations that could cause an inheritance to be classified as marital property. If an inheritance is classified as marital property, it will be divided according to Michigan’s property division laws. For example, if the inheritance was left to both you and your spouse, or it was left in a way that makes it clear that the gift was intended to be left to the marriage, it will be classified as marital property and divided accordingly. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, meaning the inheritance would be divided fairly, although not necessarily equally.
In other cases, a spouse may receive an inheritance and commingle it with marital property. For example, the recipient may place inherited money into a joint bank account they own with their spouse. In this instance, it is difficult to determine which portion of the bank account is the inheritance and which are other marital funds. For this reason, the court will likely classify the inheritance as marital property and divide the entire bank account.
It is important to speak to a Michigan family lawyer any time you are considering divorce, particularly if you have received an inheritance. An attorney can advise on how to protect your property and uphold your rights.
If you have received an inheritance and are worried about how divorce will impact it, our Michigan property division lawyer can help. At Lucido & Manzella, P.C., our experienced attorney has helped many clients keep what is most valuable to them, and we can put that expertise to work for you. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our skilled attorney and learn more about how we can help.
We offer a free initial consultation so you will get an opportunity to meet us, and we will have an opportunity to learn more about your legal issue.
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