Is an Inheritance Considered Marital Property in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on June 25, 2021 in Marital Property

St. Charles IL divorce lawyerWhen two people are married, most of the assets they acquire throughout the course of their marriage are considered marital property. During a divorce, a court will determine whether certain assets are considered marital or non-marital.

If an asset is determined not to be marital property, the court has no legal authority to award part of the asset to the non-owner spouse in a divorce. Generally, assets acquired by inheritance, gift, legacy, or descent are not considered marital property in Illinois, but the way an asset is treated after the inheritance may render it marital property.

What is an Inheritance?

Inheritances are monies, properties, or other assets that are given to someone through an estate planning document, like a will, or through intestate succession. If someone inherits an asset while they are married, it is generally considered non-marital property, as long as it is possible to prove that the asset was specifically given to the recipient by the deceased.

How Could an Inherited Asset Become Marital Property?

Depending on the recipient’s actions after receiving an inheritance, the inherited asset may not remain in their singular possession. If, for example, money is inherited from a deceased relative and the money is then placed in a joint account with both spouses, it can become marital property.

Likewise, if someone inherits a home or a piece of land and then refinances the property, if the spouse is a co-signer on the new loan document, the property then becomes marital property and will be treated accordingly in a divorce.

How Can I Protect My Inheritance?

If you have an inheritance prior to your marriage and want to protect it, you should consider a prenuptial agreement. If you receive an inheritance during your marriage and want to protect it in the event of a divorce, the best way to do this is to keep the inheritance separate from any accounts your spouse has access to.

The inheritance does not have to be hidden from your spouse’s knowledge.  However, if you use money from shared marital accounts to care for or invest in inherited property, the court may determine that your spouse’s money was invested in the property and it is therefore now marital property and may be divided accordingly.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

If you have inherited or been gifted property in Illinois and you are worried that it may be divided up as a marital asset during your divorce, you need a St. Charles, IL divorce lawyer. One of the experienced attorneys from Goostree Law Group can argue on your behalf to protect your inheritance from the division of property. Call 630-584-4800 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.




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