It is the hope of many Floridians that they will be able to leave an inheritance for their children and other loved ones. An inheritance can be a bequest of property from a deceased party’s estate to another. Often in the case the case of married couples, inheritances are granted to one of the parties to the relationship. Even so, how an inheritance is structured and how it is used once it has been distributed can have significant bearing on whether it will be considered separate or marital property during a divorce.

If a person receives an inheritance prior to their marriage and maintains the property separately throughout their relationship, then it will likely retain the character of separate property at the time of divorce. If it is mixed or comingled with marital assets, though, it may be considered marital property.

A bequest of property given to one party to a marriage may be kept separately if the recipient of the inheritance works to avoid mixing those inherited assets with marital property. It should be noted, though, that bequests that are made to both parties to a marriage are generally considered martial property from the time they are received and throughout the parties’ marriage.

An inheritance can be a special way for a decedent to recognize and remember a surviving member of their family. If the recipient of an inheritance wishes to maintain their inheritance as separate property in the event of their divorce from their spouse, keeping that property separate from the time of receipt is important. Those readers who have more questions about how inheritances may be treated during Florida divorces should consider speaking with local attorneys about their case-specific inquiries.