Like many people in Texas, you have received an inheritance from your parents or a relative, perhaps a large sum of money, or an expensive vehicle like a boat. Your inheritance may be something valuable or just something sentimental to you. Naturally, you want to protect whatever you inherit from becoming divided or sold off as part of a divorce settlement.
According to FindLaw, for the most part, the law will not look at inheritance as marital property. Since separate property is not subject to property division, your inheritance should be safe if you handle it properly. If you commingle your inheritance, you might lose some of it in a divorce.
THE PROBLEM OF COMMINGLING
If you inherit a sum of money and place it in a bank account shared by you and your spouse, the law will likely consider your inheritance money as marital property. Additionally, if you place some of your marital money in an account with your inheritance money, the law may determine that you have commingled your assets.
Your inheritance money may also lose its separate status if you spend it on marital expenses like repairs to your marital home or an automobile used by you and your spouse. To better protect your inheritance, consider keeping it in a separate account and do not use it to benefit anything owned by you and your spouse.
USING A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT
If you are approaching wedding date, you may better protect a current or future inheritance by drafting a prenuptial agreement that identifies your inheritance as separate property. With a prenup, you can dictate how you and your spouse treat inheritances acquired by you and your spouse. You might also address what happens to your inheritance if you should divorce. If you have married already, you might still address these matters with a postnuptial agreement.