For many people when a parent or sibling sadly passes away, their Will states who will be in charge of distributing their estate and who will inherit assets. This time can obviously bring sadness in losing a family member, however, inheritance can provide much help and support financially.
However, disputes regarding inheritance can arise for couples going through the divorce process. In some cases, inheritance is legally shared between the two individuals. But in some scenarios, one of the couples can retain inheritance and prevent it from being shared.
Assets can be split into 2 groups. Matrimonial, and non-matrimonial.
Matrimonial assets are property and money which is acquired during the time of the marriage. For example, the family home, pensions, investments, and savings. These are automatically included in the ‘pot’ of assets which are divided when divorcing.
Non-matrimonial assets are any assets that have been acquired outside of the marriage. For example family business, property in 1 of the couple’s names, and any possessions acquired before the marriage.
Different scenarios for inheritance
Inheritance received before marriage
If 2 people enter into a marriage with disproportionate wealth, a prenuptial agreement is a great way to protect assets. Therefore if the couple were to divorce, then the person who brought the wealth to the couple would not lose assets if they were split evenly.
- Inheritance received during the marriage
If an amount of inheritance was received during the marriage, this could move from being a non-matrimonial asset to a matrimonial asset. The courts will look at how this inheritance has been used during the marriage. For example, used for family home renovations. As this has contributed to the whole family. This could now be classed as joint property or investment.
However, protection on any expected inheritance can be stated in a prenuptial agreement. Stating that this will remain belonging to the person who inherited the property, so long as it isn’t included in the ‘family pot’.
- Inheritance yet to be received
Any inheritance which is anticipated e.g. is set to be received by parents, is not usually taken into account. This is because money hasn’t been received, used, and isn’t yet certain.
For more information on receiving an inheritance and how this could be potentially divided when going through a divorce, please get in touch. Call us on 01782 662424 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org