Asset Division and Inheritance: There are Major Exceptions
While inheritance is generally assumed to be a non-marital asset, there are some major exceptions to that rule. First, there may be questions over whether or not the inheritance was actually left to the ‘couple’ as opposed to being left to an individual. An inheritance that was bequeathed to the marriage as a whole will likely be deemed a marital asset. That means that it will be subject to the state’s equitable distribution rules.
In addition to that exception, inheritance can ‘transmute’ from a non-marital asset to a marital asset based on the actions of the receiving spouse. For example, if one spouse receives $20,000 in inheritance individually, and then they deposit that money into a joint account and commingle the funds, that inheritance may become marital property. To keep inheritance from being divided in divorce, it should clearly be kept separately.