A Florida resident may be pleased to find that a long-lost relative left them a small fortune as an inheritance. This unexpected windfall may enable the recipient to improve their lifestyle, make desired investments, or simply build up their own portfolio of assets for the future benefit of themselves and their relatives.

However, if after receiving an inheritance, the recipient decides to end their marriage, they could run into challenges from their spouse. These challenges may be primarily based on how the recipient decided to use the inheritance and whether that inheritance may remain the separate property of the spouse who inherited it.

Property in Florida may be considered marital or separate, and separate property may be converted into marital property if it is commingled with marital property or used for marital purposes. If the recipient of the inheritance used it to buy a home they shared with their spouse and family, or used it to treat their partner and kids to vacations and entertainment, then the inheritance proceeds may be considered marital. However, if the recipient invested the inheritance in accounts that only they could access, it may stay the recipient’s separate property.

Inheritances, trust funds, and other gifts or property transfers can have a big impact on property division when a person is going through a divorce. It is always wise for those with questions about divorce or other issues to discuss their concerns with attorneys before they begin legal proceedings to end their marriages.