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Protecting Inheritance Claims After A Florida Divorce

When an unexpected separation occurs, you have to start thinking about things that you never imagined being an important consideration for your future. One critical concern you may have is protecting your inherited assets, a symbol of your financial security and personal legacy.

If you’re currently in the midst of a divorce in Florida and are worried about safeguarding your inheritance, it’s important to have someone by your side who understands the complexities of inheritance rights during divorce proceedings.

At The Bardine Law Firm, our team is adept at handling the sensitive facets of divorce. Led by Johnny Bardine, we are committed to ensuring your financial interests remain intact following a legal separation. For a consultation, call us at (727) 605-7078 or contact us through our website.

An Overview of Inheritance and Divorce in Florida

Florida Statute Section 61.075 outlines the treatment of nonmarital assets, including inheritances, during divorce proceedings. This law also distinguishes between marital and nonmarital assets.

Marital assets are generally those acquired during the marriage, irrespective of whose name is on the title. These can include houses, cars, and even debts. Conversely, nonmarital assets are those acquired before the marriage or individually during the marriage through means like inheritance.

The distinction is vital because, in Florida, marital assets are treated very differently from nonmarital assets. Inheritances, however, are typically treated as nonmarital assets, barring circumstances we will touch upon later in this blog. If you received an inheritance before or during your marriage, it is generally not subject to division during a divorce. The rationale is that inheritances are usually intended for the individual, not the marital union.

Strategies to Protect Inheritance Rights in Divorce

Protecting your inheritance often demands strategic planning and meticulous management. A fundamental strategy sure to give you the best chance at success is to keep your inherited assets separate. This means avoiding depositing inheritance funds into joint accounts or using them for joint marital expenses, like home renovations or extensions. Keeping inherited assets in your name alone helps maintain their status as nonmarital property. For example, if you inherit a sum of money, it’s wise to deposit it in a separate account under your name. Similarly, if you inherit real estate, ensure it remains solely in your name, and consider how you use it during the marriage.

Clear documentation is another key component – anything that proves that an asset is indeed an inheritance. Such documentation might include wills, trust documents, or letters from the estate executor, as these records help establish the origin of the assets, making it easier to prove they should be excluded from marital property.

However, even with these precautions, the risk of commingling can threaten the protection of your inherited assets. Once commingled, these assets may be considered marital property going forward and, therefore, subject to division during a divorce.

Unique Issues and Insights in Protecting Inheritance During Divorce 

Protecting inheritance during divorce in Florida is not always straightforward. One such challenge is the dispute over what exactly constitutes an inheritance. While it might seem clear-cut, disagreements can occur over whether certain assets are indeed inheritances or part of the marital property. For instance, if an asset has been in the family for generations but was formally gifted during the marriage, its classification can become contentious. Similarly, the valuation of inheritance, particularly when it includes complex assets like businesses or overseas properties, can be a subject of dispute. Determining the current market value of these assets, which may have appreciated or depreciated over time, requires expertise and, sometimes, professional appraisal.

When questions arise and you don’t know where to turn, the role of an attorney is indispensable. A knowledgeable family law attorney can provide critical insights into the latest legal developments and how they might affect your case. They can also offer strategic advice on managing your assets to maintain their nonmarital status. Moreover, an attorney can facilitate negotiations and advocate on your behalf to reach a fair settlement that acknowledges the unique nature of your inherited assets.

Contact An Experienced St. Petersburg Family Law Attorney Today

The Bardine Law Firm, led by the experienced Johnny Bardine, is dedicated to ensuring your inheritance remains protected during these tumultuous times. To schedule a conversation and learn more about your options, contact us today at (727) 605-7078 or through our website.