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Is My Wife Entitled to My Inheritance in Our Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on October 30, 2023 in Divorce

Wheaton Family Law AttorneyDivorce in Illinois is a complex, often painstaking process that has enormous implications on the personal and financial future of those getting divorced. In the state of Illinois, the question of whether a spouse is entitled to the other spouse’s inheritance is a matter of great importance to many families. If you have concerns with regard to the distribution of assets and whether your inheritance will be subject to division, contact a divorce lawyer to ensure you have the legal protections afforded to you through state law. 

Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property 

Laws of equitable distribution govern Illinois. During divorce proceedings, non-marital property is generally exempt from division. Inheritances are often classified as non-marital property, meaning they are the sole possession of the person who received the inheritance. 

Preserving Non-Marital Property

It is essential to take specific steps to preserve the non-marital status of an inheritance. Commingling, or mixing, the inheritance with marital assets, such as in a joint bank account or using them to purchase marital assets, is a recipe for disaster, as doing so may convert the inheritance into marital property, which would make it subject to division. 

Exceptions to Non-Marital Property Classification

While inheritances are generally considered non-marital property, there are exceptions where a spouse may be entitled to a portion of the inheritance. These exceptions include: 

  • Conversion – If the inheriting spouse intentionally converts the inheritance into marital property, such as by adding the spouse’s name to the title of an inherited property, it may be subject to division.

  • Contribution – If the non-inheriting spouse can demonstrate that they made significant contributions to the preservation, improvement, or appreciation of the inherited asset, they may have a claim to a portion of its value.

  • Dissipation – If the inheriting spouse intentionally dissipates or wastes the inheritance during the marriage, the court may consider it in the division of marital assets. 

Contact a DuPage County, IL Divorce Lawyer 

Ultimately, if you are concerned with what your divorce will mean for your inheritance, take comfort in knowing that non-marital property is not subject to division during divorce. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as if the inheritance is converted or contributed toward marital funds in some way or if the inheritance is dissipated. In those cases, the inheritance may become marital property. Remember, every divorce case is unique, and the outcome may vary based on particular circumstances. Contact the skilled Wheaton, IL divorce attorneys with The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. for legal representation you can trust. Call 630-462-9500 for a private consultation. 

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