What Happens To Your Child’s Inheritance When They Divorce?

As a parent, you probably still worry about your adult children, even though they have married and now have children of their own. You might be even more worried if you plan to leave an inheritance to your child and you think he or she might later get divorced. Then the ex-spouse would receive some of the inheritance money.

This is a real possibility. While inheritances are considered separate property, this is only if the money is kept in its own separate account. Once it goes into a joint account or is used to pay for marital expenses, it becomes joint property. Since the money is now commingled, it is subject to split in a divorce.

As a parent, this can be a devastating thought. You want that money to go to your child, not the ex-spouse. So what can you do to prevent this from happening?

There are three scenarios to consider if you are worried about your child’s inheritance:

  • You have minor children. If your child is under the age of 18, then you’re probably not worried about marriage and divorce at this point. However, it’s a good idea to put the inheritance into a trust. This would make it harder for the child to use the money. They would be appointed a trustee to help them make good financial decisions. The trustee can also deny requests to spend the money, which can be especially helpful for immature children.
  • New marriage. If your child is a newlywed, it may be hard to tell if they are happy. Most couples are still feeling newlywed bliss, but things can change after a few years once children arrive and the couple start feeling financial stress and layoffs. Watch how the marriage progresses before deciding on a trust.
  • How the marriage is progressing. After 5-10 years, you should have a better idea of the state of the marriage. How is their relationship? How do you feel about your son-in-law or daughter-in-law? If you have a gut feeling or witness a lot of fighting, consider setting up a trust.

Trusts can be complicated and come with extra costs, so don’t feel like you need to rush to set one up right away. If you decide on one, make sure it will be worth it to protect your child’s future wealth. You may also want to discuss the situation with your child to get their thoughts. If they know an inheritance is in their future, they might put in the work to ensure it is protected.

Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today

Divorce matters can be complicated, especially if there is the possibility of an inheritance involved. If you’re a parent of a married child going through a divorce, you may wonder about the laws that apply and whether or not your son-in-law or daughter-in-law will have access to the inheritance.

If you are considering divorce, the Columbia divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help protect your inheritances and other assets. Schedule a consultation today. Fill out the online form or call (410) 774-5987. We have two offices to serve you.

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