Tips for Protecting Your Inheritance in a Washington Divorce

A close-up of two people's hands exchanging a small wooden house, symbolizing the transfer of inheritance.

Tips for Protecting Your Inheritance in a Washington Divorce

When you’re married in Washington state, any assets acquired during the marriage are considered jointly owned by both parties. Most inherited assets are treated as separate property, but some exceptions may arise, like commingling or using your property for separate and marital purposes. During a divorce, it can be devastating to think about your hard-earned inheritance potentially being divided between both parties. We’ve put together tips for protecting your inheritance in a Washington divorce so that you can ensure you are able to keep what rightfully belongs to you.

Keep Inheritance Separate From Marital Assets

One of the best things you can do to protect your inheritance is to keep it separate from other marital assets. Don’t mix these inherited funds with joint accounts or use the funds to purchase shared property. By keeping your inheritance separate, you can argue more effectively that it should remain your sole property in the event of a divorce.

Document the Inheritance Clearly

Proper documentation of your inheritance is crucial in proving its separate status. Maintain copies of wills, trust documents, and any other relevant paperwork that clearly indicates the source and value of the inheritance. This evidence will be essential in demonstrating that the inheritance was intended for you alone.

Establish a Trust

Creating a trust can be an effective way to protect your inheritance. By placing your inherited assets in a trust, you can control how and when the assets are distributed. Additionally, a trust can help ensure your inheritance is not commingled with marital property, providing an added layer of protection.

Avoid Using Inherited Funds for Joint Purchases

Using inherited funds for joint purchases, such as a home or car, can complicate matters during a divorce. Once these funds are used for joint assets, it becomes difficult to argue that they remain separate property. To protect your inheritance, avoid using these funds for any joint financial activities.

Consult With an Attorney

Navigating the complexities of divorce and asset division requires expert legal advice. Consulting a property division attorney can provide you with personalized guidance on how to protect your inheritance. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, draft necessary legal documents, and represent your interests throughout the divorce process.

Protecting your inheritance during a Washington divorce requires careful planning and consideration. With the guidance above, you can safeguard your inheritance. Remember, your inheritance is a gift meant for you, and with the right measures in place, you can protect it for your future.