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Is an ex-spouse entitled to your inheritance?

Marriage typically involves both spouses sharing everything. In the event divorce occurs, then both parties will want to know what they can keep and what is up for division. From inheritance to other assets, there are various steps a person can take to prevent these from going to an ex during a divorce. 

Many couples in Encino, California, decide to divorce. While there are many contentious issues to deal with, such as child custody and support, a spouse may worry about what will happen to the money he or she received after the death of a parent. Inheritance often comes with an emotional connection, so it is critical to understand state laws surrounding it. 

California abides by community property laws

In the most basic sense, there are two types of property when it comes to divorce: community and separate. Community property is anything you share with your spouse, such as joint bank accounts or a house in both of your names. During a divorce, this is the property a judge will divide equally. 

However, there is also separate property, which is anything one person owns independently. When it comes to inheritance, division depends on how the person handled these assets. For example, if the person kept the inheritance in a separate bank account, then it would belong only to that spouse. However, if the person chose to comingle assets and placed the inheritance in a joint bank account, then a judge will likely divide it. 

You can include an inheritance in a prenuptial agreement

While there are certain items you cannot include in a prenup, you can include a provision related to an inheritance if you expect to receive a sizable one during the course of the marriage. To protect an inheritance, the prenup will need to state how the inheritance will remain separate property. This means it becomes your responsibility to make sure you do not comingle any assets. 

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