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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Inherited Property


Term Definition Inherited Property - property conveyed from one person to another as an inheritance.
Application in Divorce Inherited property is separate property, and it is treated as such in equitable distribution and community property states.

The property may have been received before or during the marriage, and it is the sole property of the person who received it.

Inherited property is an immune asset and not subject to distribution in a divorce. In general, states define the marital estate in two ways: all-property, which is also called Kitchen Sink method, and dual classification, which means the spouses must determine when an asset was acquired to determine if it was acquired before the marriage and therefore immune from distribution.

In general, separate property includes a gift to one party or a bequest to one party, or in dual classification states, assets acquired before the marriage.

Problems sometimes arise when people commingle their separate property with marital assets, for example, when a couples uses one spouse’s inheritance toward the purchase of a family home.

Spouses sometimes protect separate property, including inheritances, with prenuptial agreements.

See Immune Assets; Comminged Assets; Prenuptial and Antenuptial Agreements; Separate Property.

See also Equitable Distribution; Community Property; Kitchen Sink States; Dual Classification States.

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