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Protect your inheritance in the event of a divorce down the road

A loved one who leaves you with an inheritance likely expected that you would be the person to enjoy it. Ensuring that the inheritance won't be taken from you if you end up getting a divorce is crucial. Whether you received the inheritance before you were married or after, you can still take steps to keep it protected.

If you aren't yet married and have recieved an inheritance or expect that you will receive one, you should explore the possibility of a prenuptial agreement. You should make sure that the agreement spells out exactly how the inheritances you receive will be handled if you end up getting a divorce.

If you are already married, you can use a postnuptial agreement to protect the inheritance. That is essentially the same as a prenuptial agreement, but the postnuptial agreement is one that is signed after the marriage.

In the absence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you can protect the inheritance by ensuring that it is kept seperate from the marital funds. This means that you don't keep the inheritance in a marital bank account, use the inheritance to care for marital assets or use marital assets to care for the inheritance. For example, you couldn't use money out of your joint bank account to pay the taxes on real estate that was left to you as an inheritance.

There are a lot of different circumstances that can affect the way that inheritances are handled during property division proceedings. If you have an inheritance that you need to protect, make sure that you understand the options you have for hanging onto the property.

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and Divorce," accessed June 09, 2016

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