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St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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Is My Inheritance Considered Marital Property in Illinois?

Posted on in Asset Division

St. Charles IL divorce attorneyIf you have received property through an inheritance from a family member or close friend, it is likely something that you hold very dear. You may see it as a representation of that person’s legacy, and in many cases, it also has substantial monetary value. The thought of losing your inheritance or having to divide it in a divorce can be concerning. Fortunately, Illinois law often allows you to protect inherited property during the divorce process, but there are some possible exceptions that you should be aware of.

Inherited Assets Are Usually Non-Marital Property

According to Illinois law, most property that either spouse acquires during their marriage is considered to belong to the marital estate, and this means that both spouses have the right to a fair share of it in the event of a divorce. However, the law lists several forms of property that are considered non-marital assets. One example is “property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent,” which includes assets acquired through a will, trust, or intestate succession. Provided that you alone are the named or qualifying beneficiary, you will likely be able to keep all inherited property in the divorce. If your spouse is willing, creating a postnuptial agreement after receiving an inheritance can provide additional protection for your assets.

When Can an Inheritance Become Marital Property?

However, under some circumstances, property received through inheritance is subject to division in a divorce. This may be the case if:

  • The property was left to both spouses. For example, the deceased may have named both spouses together in their will when noting their preference of beneficiaries.

  • The property was commingled with marital assets or transferred into joint ownership. This may be true if the assets were deposited into an account belonging to both spouses, or if physical or real estate property was retitled in both spouses’ names.

  • The assets were used to purchase property used by the couple. For example, if you used inherited assets to buy a home in which you and your spouse lived, or for home improvements or household items, those purchases may now belong to the marital estate.

Additionally, if your spouse contributed to the increase in value of your inherited property, they will likely be entitled to reimbursement for their efforts even if the property itself remains a non-marital asset. This could be the case if your spouse worked for an inherited business or made improvements to inherited real estate property, for example.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Marital Property Attorney

At the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II PC, we can help you take steps to protect your inherited property through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, as well as to ensure that your non-marital inherited property is treated as such in your divorce. Contact us today at 847-428-7725 to schedule an initial consultation with a Kane County divorce lawyer.




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