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How can an inheritance be protected in a Florida divorce?

Inheriting property and other items from a relative is often a financial boost. It is also a great sentimental boost that you might need after you lose a loved one. If you are married and end up with an inheritance, there are some special considerations you must think about because you need to protect your inheritance if you end up getting divorced. Our Florida readers might find that some of this information offers valuable protection for inherited items.

What do I need to keep from the inheritance?

You should ensure that you have documentation showing that the inheritance was left only to you. Generally, the more you have to show that the inheritance was left only to you, the better your case will be. A gift-tax return or a letter from the person who left you the inheritance might be viable options. Of course, what is appropriate in one case might not be the best option in another, so find out as soon as possible after inheriting the items what you need to show that the item was meant only for you.

How can I keep the inheritance separate?

Florida is an equitable distribution state, so you should ensure that the inheritance is kept separate from household or marital assets. This can mean using a trust or a special bank account to hold the inheritance. Another option is to make sure you keep the title or deed in only your name. Adding your spouse's name might be tempting, but it can mean that the asset is now marital or community property instead of separate property.

Determining the best way to prevent the loss of an inheritance is a concern for many people. If you are already married when you are given the inheritance, a prenuptial agreement won't help you. If you already had the inheritance before the marriage, a prenuptial agreement might help you. Look into all the options you have available to protect the inheritance so you can adequately protect what was given to you.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "How to Keep Your Inheritance in a Divorce" accessed Mar. 04, 2015

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