Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Is your spouse entitled to an inheritance you receive if divorce is in process?

Question:

 My mother passed very recently and I am going to receive a payout from her annuity account. Is my wife entitled to my inheritance even though I have legally filed for divorce.

Answer:

Your wife is not entitled to your inheritance because property received by inheritance is not marital property.  You should keep the property separate from your wife.  If you are annuitizing the account, open a separate bank account to deposit the payments.   Until the divorce is final, do not make any additional deposits in that account, other than the annuity payments.  If you commingle the non-marital property with marital property, at best it will make it difficult to tell which property is non-marital and which is marital, and at worst, may end up jeopardizing this account when the divorce is finalized. In any case, it is not worth the complication.  So bottom line is keep the account in your name alone and do not commingle the funds with other assets until things are final on the divorce side. Estate PlanningAs always, if you have questions or would like to know more please contact Steven E. Shane, at sshane@offitkurman.com or 301.575.0313. Steve provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.