Protect your inheritance if going through divorce

A windfall has come your way by the means of a significant inheritance. However, it represents something that is bittersweet because you and your spouse are going through a difficult time. The two of you have set the wheels in motion for getting a divorce as your spouse has moved out of the house.

There will never be plans to spend that money together. And, now that divorce looms, you wonder what will happen with this money and how you can protect it. Is it a marital asset? Is it a non-marital asset? You have many concerns, namely in that, you do not want your soon-to-be-former spouse getting hold of any of this money. There are ways to accomplish this.

Keep that money separate

When a married person receives an inheritance, this money is a non-marital asset. As the receiver of this inheritance, only you hold a claim to these assets. However, this is only true if that money is held exclusively in your name as the beneficiary. Then your spouse cannot claim a share.

Upon receiving the inheritance, make sure to invest it in a separate financial account that only includes your name. Possibilities include bank, money market, mutual fund and IRA accounts. This is a good way to protect the money.

Avoid making the critical mistake of depositing your inheritance into a joint account; one that includes the names of both spouses. Commingling assets into a joint account automatically changes your inheritance from non-marital property to marital property. The result: Your soon-to-be-ex-spouse now has a legal claim to this money.

That inheritance is a significant amount that your father earmarked for you a long time ago, and just for you. He led a good life, worked hard, saved and made wise investments. Protect that money as best as you can if going through a divorce.