How Are Inheritance And Gifts Treated In Divorce?

Inheritance and gift assets will have to be evaluated and proven as either marital property or separate property. Inheritances and gifts can only be divided in divorce if they are found to be marital property.

In North Carolina, inheritances are only subject to equitable distribution if money has been commingled or if the inheritance has been used to benefit joint marital assets in some way.

  • Inheritance money is commingled if it is added to a joint bank account, invested in a joint investment account, used to pay joint expenses or used to make improvements to any marital property, such as a home improvement or family business investment.
  • An inherited asset, such as a real estate property, could become marital property if both spouses invest time or money into improving or maintaining the property, or if the property is sold and proceeds are commingled with marital assets.

Gifts received by one spouse prior to or during the marriage from a third party are treated in much the same way as inheritances, but they do not have the added protection under the law of being presumed to be separate property immediately when received.

The intended ownership of gifted property or money may be less clear than the inherited variety, so the judge could more easily rule it to be marital property whether it is commingled or not. However, a clearly worded and legally valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement could provide sufficient clarity.

The Value Of All Inheritances And Gifts Will Be Factored Into Your Equitable Distribution Order

It is important that all separate and marital property is valued accurately through expert asset appraisals and experienced attorney representation. If it is not, you could be missing out on substantial asset ownership that you have rights to claim in divorce.

At Epperson Law PLLC, our lawyers apply 24 years of legal experience to your case. We will represent your best interests and help you make informed decisions about all aspects of your property division agreement.

Please contact us online or call our law firm toll free at 888-805-8163 in Weddington or Boone, North Carolina. We serve clients in the areas of Union County, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and throughout the state, and we look forward to speaking with you about your unique case.