In California, will an inheritance be affected by my divorce? 14 Answers as of January 18, 2011

I live in California, and have tried to work everything out with my husband but am finally ready to move forward. I received a sizeable inheritance from a family member about 6 years ago. Will this be protected? If I hire a good enough lawyer, could I be able to protect it?

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Law Office of Harry L Styron
Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
It depends on how you have handled the inheritance. At law it is your separate property unless it was left by name to the two of you. However, if you have commingled it with funds belonging to the community, then the waters are muddier. There is a presumption in California that all property owned by either spouse in a marriage is community property, and it is the burden of the person claiming property as separate property to prove it. As I said, if the inheritance has never been commingled, then proof is simple. If it has, then you may need the assistance of an accountant as well as a lawyer to trace the funds and show that they originated in the inheritance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/18/2011
Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP
Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP | Paul M. Teinert
If you received an inheritance in California this is considered separate property. The inheritance will remain the beneficiary's individual property at divorce.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/17/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
Inheritance is your separate property, hire a good family law attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/17/2011
Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law
Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law | Matthew E. Lax
Yes, if the money comes from an inheritance to you, your spouse should not any interest in the inheritance. If you need to hire an attorney to help you, please feel free to give me a call.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/17/2011
Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
Inheritance (or any gift) is separate property when it is received. If you kept your separate than it is yours and should not require a fight at all. Everyone knows the rule and your spouse should not try and take half of what is not his.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/17/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    Your inheritance may be protected it if you have not co-mingled it with community assets. If the funds have been kept separate, or can be easily traced to your separate property inheritance, then it should be protected. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/16/2011
    Maclean Chung Law Firm
    Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
    Inheritance is generally considered to be separate property that you would not need to split with your spouse. A good attorney can definitely help you protect any separate property from claims that your spouse may make. Feel free to contact our office if you would like a free initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Assuming that you didn't commingle your inheritance with community property, it would remain your separate property. If you did commingle it with community property, you would need to have your separate property portion "traced" to preserve and/or assert your right to your traceable separate property. If you put your inheritance in assets under your and your husband's joint names, Family Code Section 2640 would preserve your rights to traceable separate property in those assets. A good Family Law Attorney would know how to best protect and assert your separate property rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    Law Office of Stephen Pearcy
    Law Office of Stephen Pearcy | Stephen Pearcy
    Inheritances are separate property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    You did offer enough information to fully advise you, but in general, inheritance is separate property. I cannot tell if you are only now filing for divorce, or filed previously. If there has been income from inherited assets during the marriage, there are two main ways of computing any possible quasi-community property interest your soon-to-be exspouse may have in the property. Either way, he has no legal claim to the money/property you inherited, and only a marginal potential claim on any increase in value of the assets. These are things that can be litigated by a competent attorney, or agreed upon via a Stipulated Judgment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Inherited property, in any form, is a person's sole and separate property. I can help you with your property rights. Please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    An inheritance received during marriage is your separate property. As for protecting that assets in a divorce, if your attorney is competent, there should not be a problem. I'd suggest hiring an experienced family law lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    I have reviewed your case information and I can help you with your need to protect your inheritance. Whether you keep it all or not depends on how you have handled the money since you received it. This will require a telephone conversation, as it is to complex for email. If there is any chance on keeping it ALL I am that fighting lawyer you are seeking.

    Since documents have not been filed with the court it is very important that we speak as soon as possible, so I can evaluate your problem, and if hired protect all of your interests.

    You may find some helpful information on my website at my website.

    The best way to contact me for an immediate response is for you to call me directly anytime any day (24/7).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Pisarra and Grist
    Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
    Inheritances are separate property and you just have to be able to show that the money in a particular account is from the inheritance to protect it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/14/2011
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