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Protecting inheritance from spouse

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zoetawny

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? CA

I have been in an abusive marriage for years. I will receive a modest inheritance from my Dad. My Dad doesn't think a Living Trust is necessary but knows my marital situation and doesn't want my spouse to have access to the inheritance.
My question is how can protect my inheritance from being considered community property accessible to my spouse. This may be the time I may be able to divorce because I will have some money to support myself. I was told if I don't co-mingle the money and put it in a trust account that my husband won't be able to claim half of my inheritance. On the other hand I've been told that anything I inherit while I am still married and then divorce, my spouse is entitled to half. I have no money to seek an attorney's advice since my spouse controls the finances. Please help!
 


divgradcurl

Senior Member
My question is how can protect my inheritance from being considered community property accessible to my spouse.
Put it in a trust, or seperate bank account, or some other place where you spouse has no access to the money, and do not, under any circumstances, use any part of that money to pay for any community debts or assets -- don't pay the mortgage, pay car payments, insurance payments, other bills, etc. Also, do not deposit any other money into that account.

I was told if I don't co-mingle the money and put it in a trust account that my husband won't be able to claim half of my inheritance.
That is correct. But you must be very careful to avoid comingling. Make sure your husband has no access to the money. Do not deposit any money you earn from you job, or from dividends, or anywhere else other than the inheritance, into that account. Do not pay community debts or purchase community property with that money. It doesn't have to be a trust, but it does have to be a completely separate account. Make it with a bank you don't currently deal with as well, just to keep things totally separate.

the other hand I've been told that anything I inherit while I am still married and then divorce, my spouse is entitled to half.
That is not true. Certain things, like inheritances, money from a personal injury settlement or award, and gifts to you personal are NOT community property, even if acquired during marriage. Of course, comingling of the funds may result in this separate property "transmuting" into community property, but if this type of property is kept separate, it remains separate property.

Of course, the easiest way to keep your inheritance as separate property is to get a divorce now, before the inheritance becomes an inheritance.
 

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