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could a known future inheritance that will occur after a divorce have any bearing on how the assets are to be divided up?
Asked on June 10, 2009 under Family Law, Michigan
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 11 years ago | Contributor
As a matter of law, no. Most importantly, the inheritance is not yet an asset of either spouse--neither one has an actual ownership interest in it. Practically, many things could happen to result in it not coming to pass (the inheriting spouse pre-deceasing the person who will be leaving the money or property; the inheriting spouse being disinherited, etc.) Even if it's as certain as certain could be that the inheritance will happen, until and unless its been distributed to one of the spouses, it's not an asset that will be counted in divorce.
That's the legal answer. The practical answer is, if the divorcing spouses work out a settlement, they could take the inheritance into account. For example, the inheriting spouse could offer a share of the inheritance in exchange for more of the current assets, and if the other spouse takes the deal, that's their choice.
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