What can be done with inheritance money that helps protect assets?

My uncle passed away and has included me in his Will. I am currently married and would like to protect my inheritance in case the marriage dissolves. I financed a home prior to my marriage and there is still a balance. Can I use some, or all, of the inheritance by applying it to the mortgage and if so, what happens to the property/proceeds in the marriage fails? (since the home was financed prior to marriage?)I am aware that if I keep the funds completely separate from the get-go (no co-mingling) that it will not be construed as marital assets. If I were willed, say $40,000, and withheld $10,000 for family “stuff” can remaining funds be considered separate?

Asked on September 3, 2012 under Estate Planning, Maryland


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The test is generally the "intent" to make the inherited or separate asset a marital asset.  That is why co mingling the funds is seen as making the asset marital and so could be making a house the marital residence.  I would speak with some one in person about the assets you hold and what you want to do with them.  You could open an investment account in your name and transfer the inheritnce in to it and then withdraw what ever you choose to withdraw for use as you wish.  But I would discuss the house issue.  Good luck.

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