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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

DuPage County | 630-852-9700

Mokena | 815-727-6144   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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How Is a Spouse’s Inheritance Handled in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Property Division

Hinsdale property division lawyer for inheritances
An inheritance is something that you receive when a loved one passes away. Though this is a solemn event, an inheritance can sometimes provide you with a bit of financial security. If you are married or plan on getting married, this can pose a unique situation if you were to get a divorce. Because many married couples have shared finances, one of the biggest parts of divorce is determining how to divide assets and debts. In Illinois, this process is done in an equitable manner, which does not necessarily mean that both spouses will come out of the divorce with half of the marital estate. A variety of factors are weighed to determine what is equitable, including each spouse’s income and earning potential, the duration of the marriage, and each spouse’s non-marital property in relation to the marital property. So, what does all of this mean for a spouse who has received an inheritance?

Understanding Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before your property can be divided, you must determine which of your property is non-marital and which of it is considered marital property. In general, any assets or debts that you have acquired during the time that you were married is considered to be part of the marital estate. This means that this property is subject to division during the divorce process. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, and inheritances are one of them. As per Illinois law, any property acquired by gift, legacy or descent is exempt from being considered marital property.

Keeping Your Inheritance Separate

Even though an inheritance is technically non-marital property, there are ways in which it can have both marital and non-marital characteristics. If this happens, then your inheritance could be considered part of the marital estate and subject to division between you and your spouse. For example, if you received a cash inheritance, and you deposited that money into an account that you share with your spouse, it could be considered part of the marital estate.

In this sense, it is crucial to keep your inheritance as separate as possible so it does not end up being subject to division during your divorce. The easiest way to ensure your inheritance stays with you is by having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement drafted as soon as you think receiving an inheritance might be possible. If you do not have an agreement drafted, it is crucial that you open a bank account in your name only and deposit your inheritance money there, rather than using a joint account.

A DuPage County Asset Division Attorney Can Help You Handle Your Inheritance

Divorces are stressful for many reasons, but one of the biggest stressors is the financial uncertainty that divorce can cause. If you are going through or are thinking about getting a divorce, you need to talk to an Elmhurst, IL asset division lawyer as soon as possible. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., we can help you ensure your inheritance is protected and that you receive your fair portion of the marital estate. Call our office today at 630-852-9700 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

 

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

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