How can I protect my inheritance during a California divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | High-asset Divorce

Divorce can present challenges when it comes to dividing assets, particularly if you have received or are anticipating an inheritance during your marriage. In California, where community property laws apply, it is important to take steps to protect your inheritance in the event of a divorce.

Here are some strategies you can use to protect your inheritance during a California divorce.

Maintain thorough documentation

Keeping thorough and organized documentation of your inheritance is essential. Retain records such as wills, trust documents or probate court records to establish a clear record of the separate nature of your inheritance. These documents can serve as evidence that the inheritance is not subject to division in a divorce.

Keep inheritance separate

To protect your inheritance, it is crucial to keep it separate from marital assets. Open a separate bank account to deposit and manage your inheritance. By maintaining a clear separation, you strengthen the argument that the inheritance is your separate property.

Avoid using inheritance for marital expenses

Resist using your inherited funds for joint expenses or investments made during the marriage. Instead, use your separate income or joint assets for these purposes. Demonstrating that your inheritance is not commingled with marital finances can help protect it during a divorce.

Consider a postnuptial agreement

If you did not have a prenuptial agreement, you may consider a postnuptial agreement to address the treatment of assets, including inheritances, in the event of a divorce.

Trace assets

In California, tracing can be crucial in protecting your inheritance. Maintain records and documentation that clearly show the path of your inherited assets and how they are separate from marital property. This can help establish that your inheritance is not subject to division.

Careful planning and diligence can help preserve your separate property.

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