Is my wife entitled to life insurance that my mom left to me if we get a divorce?

My mother died a few weeks ago. She left me a good amount of money through a life insurance policy. My wife and I have been considering a divorce for a while now and we are about to go through with it. I don’t think she knows about the policy but I’m not sure. I was considering putting it in a trust fund with my sister over it. My sister is 42 and I’m only 27.

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss and for your current situation.  Generally, money that you inherit - and the proceeds are considered to be part of an inheritance - are considered separate property in a divorce UNLESS you co-mingle the money and make it "joint property" in some way.  That would be depositing it in to a joint account, etc.  So if you wish it to remain separate property then do as you had planned: open up a new and separate account depositing ONLY the proceeds from the policy for now (if you inherit other money you can use that account as well but do not deposit any pay checks, etc. that are marital property in to the account at this time).  Keep a copy of the check and the deposit slip together to show that the money went in as a whole.  You do not have to name your sister on the account (and I would not except as a beneficiary if you so choose).  Good luck.


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