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Can you protect your inheritance from a spouse?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Divorce

Inheritance gifts are generally thought to be a personal asset, but when you share a life with a spouse, this asset could come under threat during a divorce.

Divorce laws in Oklahoma require equitable settlement agreements, which could leave any assets obtained during the marriage open to division. There are ways to protect your inheritance from this division.

Protecting your property during a divorce

You may keep legal ownership of an inheritance if you meet several criteria. These circumstances include:

  • You directly received the inheritance and it was not left to your spouse.
  • The inheritance bank deposit went into your sole bank account rather than a joint account.
  • The inheritance did not pay for any joint expenses.
  • The inheritance money did not pay for any marital property improvements.

This kind of position requires excellent documentation, and many individuals may not realize this when receiving their inheritance.

Preparing your property for a divorce

If you want to keep your inheritance from a divorce, you can use prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. These are legal documents that keep your property separate from your spouse, as the documents outline what you own and maintain responsibility for. The documents specifically list the assets, whether it is an inheritance, piece of property, bank account or other property.

You can also choose to keep your property out of division by keeping it separate from marital property or accounts. This means you should not use it to make any purchases or pay any bills for the marriage.

It is possible to keep your inheritance even when going through a divorce. It requires careful planning, either before or after the receipt of the gift if you want to keep it separate.