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Family Law Blog

Inheritance After a Divorce

Published: Dec 11, 2017 in Divorce

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

The issues related to inheritance after a divorce can be complex and challenging to sort out. You may rely on the assumption that the assets from an inheritance you received, whether prior to your marriage or during your marriage, are exclusively your own. However, particular situations can exist in which these assets are considered marital property. An inheritance after a divorce designated as marital property may become subject to division between you and your spouse as part of the divorce process.

If you are facing inheritance issues in relation to a pending divorce, Pittsburgh divorce attorney Anthony Piccirilli can advise you on matters pertaining to this issue and how to protect your rights concerning the allocation of these assets.

Contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC today at (412) 471-5100 for a consultation regarding your case.

Division of Marital Property in PA

Prior to reviewing exactly how inheritance can be affected by divorce, it is important to understand the basics of how property associated with the marriage is most often divided in Pennsylvania.

Each party in a divorce in Pennsylvania has specific rights pertaining to their property and its division. The term “equitable division” applies under the law in divorce cases. The court looks at a range of factors to divide marital property as fairly and justly as possible. Only marital property is subject to division in the divorce process in PA. This refers to property obtained by either party during the marriage as well as any increases in value of non-marital property.

This method of dividing property in PA forms the basis of understanding the division of an inheritance after a divorce in the state.

Handling Inheritance

What is the best way to handle an inheritance during a pending divorce? If divorce is about to occur, it may be advisable to open up a separate bank account in your name only, in which to place the inheritance funds which were specifically designated to you. Any money put into a bank account that has the names of both spouses, or is used to buy a new home or vehicle under both names can leave the entire inheritance amount subject to equitable distribution under the law.

As well, if you are the designated inheritor and any valuable objects or properties are included with the inheritance, you may want to ensure that the paperwork for those items is in your name only.

Other factors may come into play regarding the handling of an inheritance after a divorce. For instance, inherited assets such as funds in bank accounts and real estate can increase in value or accumulate interest during the time period of the marriage. The increased value these assets may subject them to equitable distribution regardless of whether the original inheritance falls into that category.

Similar to a cash inheritance, any contribution provided by either one or both spouses toward increasing the value of a real property may categorize said property as marital, which makes it subject to equitable distribution.

Contact an Experienced Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney

Divorce can be very difficult both emotionally and financially. At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, attorney Anthony Piccirilli can help you maneuver through some of the financial decisions you are facing, including inheritance after divorce, and help you achieve the best possible result.

Contact us today at (412) 471-5100 for a free case consultation.