Is my wife entitled to half of the property I owned prior to our marriage?

I got married when I retired 6 years ago. Before my marriage I already own my house and have my 401K retirement funds. Before our marriage my house was valued at $450K and now is only worth 250K.

Asked on August 27, 2013 under Estate Planning, Nevada

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that property owned prior to marriage is considered separate property for distribution in a divorce. As for distribution when you pass away, it is considered to part of your estate alone and not jointly owned property.  However, in some states a wife can "elect" against the estate as they are entitled to a certain percentage of their spouse's assets upon death. Also, if you in some way co mingle estate and marital assets say in same bank account or putting your spouse's name on the deed to the house.  I would speak with an estate planner if you want to plan ahead.  Good luck.


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