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Law Office of Maria Lowry Dedicated Houston Family Attorney

Are Inheritances Split in a Texas Divorce?

Figurines, model of a house and a gavel, as a concept of inheritance law.

When couples are divorcing and one of the parties has recently received an inheritance, an important question often arises in the minds of both parties: Is the inheritance included in the property division? On the one hand, the inheritance occurred during the marriage, and property acquired during marriage is community property. On the other hand, the inheritance was bestowed only on one of the spouses by virtue of that person’s relationship to the deceased. Read on to learn how Texas law treats an inheritance when it comes to the division of marital property, and contact the Law Office of Maria Lowry in Houston for help with a family law or estate planning/probate matter in Harris County.

Understanding Separate and Community Property

In Texas, property acquired during a marriage is generally considered community property and is subject to division between spouses in a divorce. However, not all assets fall into this category. Separate property, which includes inheritances, gifts, and property acquired before the marriage, is typically not subject to division in a divorce.

Inheritances in Texas Divorces

Inheritances are generally considered separate property in Texas, even if received during the marriage. This means that if you inherit money, real estate, or other assets, these are usually not split with your spouse in a divorce. However, there are exceptions to this rule that can affect whether an inheritance is divided.

Commingling of Assets

One common issue that can arise is the commingling of separate and community property. If you inherit money and deposit it into a joint bank account or use it to purchase a family home, it may be considered commingled and, thus, subject to division in a divorce. To protect your inheritance, it’s important to keep it separate from marital assets.

Enhancements to Separate Property

If your inheritance has increased in value during the marriage, the appreciation may be considered community property if it resulted from the efforts or contributions of either spouse. For example, if you inherit a home and your spouse helps renovate it, leading to an increase in value, the appreciation may be subject to division.

Agreements Between Spouses

Spouses can agree to different arrangements regarding inheritances in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. If both parties agree, an inheritance can be treated as community property or divided in a specific way in the event of a divorce.

Protecting Your Inheritance

To ensure that your inheritance remains separate property in Texas, consider the following steps:

  1. Keep Inherited Assets Separate: Avoid commingling inherited assets with marital property. Store inherited funds in a separate bank account and maintain clear records.

  2. Document the Inheritance: Keep documentation that clearly shows the inheritance was intended for you alone and not as a gift to the marital estate. The burden is on the party claiming separate property to prove their case by “clear and convincing evidence.”

  3. Consider a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement: These agreements can specify how inheritances will be treated in the event of a divorce.

Contact the Law Office of Maria Lowry for Help With Property Division in Your Houston Divorce

Navigating the division of assets in a divorce can be challenging, particularly when it comes to inheritances. If you’re going through a divorce in Harris County and have questions about how your inheritance will be treated, it’s crucial to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney.

The Law Office of Maria Lowry is dedicated to helping clients in Houston navigate the complexities of divorce and asset division. Contact us to discuss your case and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process. Call 713-850-8859 for help with divorce, family law, estate planning, probate, wills and more in Houston and Harris County.

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