Inheritance & Divorce
Assets inherited during your marriage can be considered as part of your financial settlement during a divorce, but how those assets are treated will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the inheritance and the length of your marriage. Expert legal advice can help to make sure your financial settlement is fair and that your future needs are met.
At IBB Law, our divorce finance specialists can provide clear guidance on how inherited assets are likely to influence your settlement. Whether you have received an inheritance you want to protect or believe you are entitled to a share of your spouse’s inheritance, we can help you secure a fair outcome, usually without the need for court proceedings.
Our team regularly deals with divorces involving high-value and complex assets in the £2-10 million range, so where a substantial inheritance is involved, we have the seasoned expertise and detailed legal knowledge to make sure your settlement is handled effectively.
Wherever possible, we will help you negotiate a settlement with your spouse using negotiation and methods such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration. This can help you to achieve a financial separation in a more conciliatory way, and at a lower cost than if you rely upon court proceedings.
However, often Court proceedings may be required. Where this is the case, our team can offer experienced advocacy and support through this process, helping you to achieve a settlement that fairly reflects your circumstances.
If you are planning on getting married or are already married and worried about how divorce could affect an inheritance, we can also help with creating a robust prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement.
To speak to a member of our family law team about inheritance and divorce, or to arrange an initial fixed fee consultation, give your local IBB Law office a call in Beaconsfield, Reading or Uxbridge, or email email@example.com.
Why IBB Law are the right choice for advice on inheritance and divorce
IBB Law is one of the top-ranked law firms for family law in the South East, holding the top Tier 1 ranking from the Legal 500 for Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex and Band 2 ranking by Chambers & Partners for Watford, Uxbridge and the surrounding areas.
Our Family Law team is led by Amanda Melton, a highly experienced family lawyer and divorce finance expert who has won recognition in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for her “exceptional professional knowledge” and “strong interpersonal skills”.
Many of our family lawyers are members of Resolution, an organisation dedicated to removing conflict from divorce and family law. Family Law Partner Kate Ryan is a Resolution-trained mediator with experience in mediating settlements involving inherited assets.
We take pride in offering exceptional client service. Your case will be handled directly by one of our experienced family lawyers through every stage of your divorce, so you will always know who you can turn to when you have a question or need an update.
How we can help you with divorce & inheritance
What happens to inheritance in a divorce?
Many people will want to know what happens to their inheritance after a divorce, however there is no definitive answer to this question, as it mostly depends on your specific circumstances.
It is crucial to be aware of the fact that the court will always strive to ensure that both spouses and their children can maintain a similar standard of living as they did during the marriage. In some cases, assets that were inherited prior to the marriage may be treated as part of the marital assets if they have been utilised within the marriage, such as a property that has become the family home. This inclusion of assets is done to address the financial needs of both parties involved. If you have inherited assets while being married, it is highly likely that the court will consider them as part of the overall marital assets.
However, it may be possible to prevent this by establishing a post-nuptial agreement that safeguards the inherited assets. Inherited assets received shortly before the breakdown of the marriage are less likely to be included in the division of marital assets, but this depends on whether other assets are sufficient to meet the future needs of the couple or family.
Also, family courts will generally consider factors such as how long you were married and when you or your spouse received the inheritance when deciding on a settlement. So, for example, if you received a large inheritance shortly before your divorce, or you were only married for a very short time, it is possible a court might decide your spouse is not entitled to half of the inheritance.
To determine whether your inheritance is likely to be included in the financial settlement, it is essential to consult an experienced divorce and finance solicitor. They can provide expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
Our experienced inheritance and divorce lawyers can guide you through the process of resolving matters by agreement or settlement or pursuing court proceedings to help you secure a reasonable settlement for you in all of the circumstances.
How do you protect future inheritance from divorce?
A common question is whether future inheritance can be considered as part of a divorce settlement, and many of our clients are concerned with protecting an inheritance from divorce in general. Typically, any future inheritance you or your spouse are likely to receive will not be considered as part of any financial settlement during divorce.
If you wish to safeguard an inheritance or an expected future inheritance from being considered as part of the joint assets should you get a divorce, you could consider entering either a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement with your spouse. The purpose of these agreements is to outline how your finances should be divided up should you later choose to separate. It’s important to note that at the time of writing, these agreements are not legally binding in a court of law.
However, they are often considered and are thought of as influential and even “decisive” in certain cases. Whilst a marital agreement does not guarantee the protection of said inheritance, it can offer a degree of protection, or at least enhance the likelihood of its preservation.
Our team of inheritance and divorce solicitors will be happy to advise you on your options for protecting or receiving a share of a future inheritance to help make sure your financial needs are met.
How do you protect your children’s inheritance from divorce?
With many people choosing to marry or remarry later in life, it is common for one or both partners to already have children from a previous relationship. This can cause concerns about divorce as there is the potential for your children to lose out on their inheritance if your spouse were to take a substantial portion of your assets in a financial settlement.
To safeguard inherited property from the effects of divorce, it is essential that you keep it separate from marital assets. This means one partner ensuring that any inherited funds are kept in a separate account and that other assets are held solely in their name. By doing this, a parent can keep their children’s inheritance from the impact of the divorce proceedings, ensuring that the children are the sole beneficiaries.
Another method of protecting children’s inheritance from divorce would be through the implementation of pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements with your spouse. If both parties can agree, this kind of agreement can exclude inherited money and assets from being considered as part of the marital assets, in turn preventing any claims on the inheritance after a divorce.
Another commonly used approach to safeguarding children’s inheritance from divorce is to establish a trust and designate the children as beneficiaries. As long as the inheritance has been kept separate from the marriage and a trust has been established for the benefit of the children, the inheritance can be protected, and the spouse may not have any entitlement to the inheritance following a divorce.
Our inheritance and divorce solicitors can advise you on your options to protect your children’s inheritance, including a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, where appropriate.
Is my spouse entitled to half of the inheritance?
When two spouses are separating, one of the main concerns is often whether one spouse will be entitled to half of the other’s inheritance. As mentioned earlier, the Court may deem a spouse entitled to a 50% share of the inheritance if it was acquired before or during the marriage, therefore becoming part of the marital assets. However, equally, they may not. This is because the Court hold the principle of fairness as paramount and aims to make sure both partners are able to enjoy the same standard of living separately as they enjoyed during the marriage.
When children are involved in the marriage and the financial needs of both partners cannot be met solely with the existing marital assets, the courts may rule that a spouse is entitled to half of the inheritance. It’s important to note that the 50/50 split is merely a starting point when considering inheritance in a divorce scenario. There may be circumstances where your spouse receives a smaller or larger share.
Our expert inheritance and divorce solicitors will be able to advise you on these matters, and with help you decide on the best course of action depending on your individual circumstances.
Speak to our expert divorce solicitors in West London, Buckinghamshire, and the Thames Valley
To speak to a member of our family law team about dealing with inheritance during divorce, or to arrange an initial fixed fee consultation, give your local IBB Law office a call in Beaconsfield, Reading or Uxbridge, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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