Lisa L. JohnsonAttorney at law
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Divorce And Family Law Issues

Use a prenup to protect an inheritance in property division

When Kentucky couples consider marriages, many of them might hesitate to discuss prenuptial agreements and thereby cause contention. Conversations about marital contracts have always been difficult, but in particular circumstances, they are vital. An example is when one spouse expects an inheritance that he or she wants to keep out of any property division process that might occur in the case of a divorce or one party's death.

A premarital inheritance, or one received during the marriage by one spouse only, will not form part of equitable distribution -- except under certain circumstances. To keep it separate, the recipient must hold the inherited funds entirely separate. As soon as any part of the inheritance is commingled with marital funds, it may become divisible. For example, if funds from the estate finance an extension to the family home, that will be seen as marital funds.

If the recipient uses funds from the inheritance to purchase a rental property in his or her name, the income generated by the property will be marital property, and so will any interest earned on the inherited funds. These issues can all be avoided by establishing a trust for the inheritance. A trustee can then be appointed to manage the trust.

Another way to protect an inheritance without having to keep a record of how any of it is spent is to address it in a prenuptial agreement. This agreement can be drafted solely to state that the other spouse will not claim a share of the inheritance, or it can address several other matters. An experienced Kentucky divorce attorney can explain how a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect the assets of both parties in property division, while it can also deal with other marital agreements related to children and more.

Source: nj.com, "Protecting an inheritance before marriage", Karin Price Mueller, Nov. 16, 2017

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