Inheritance is a common issue that is raised by our clients who wish to settle property matters with their ex partner. Many people become worried that they will receive an inheritance from a family member who passes away before final orders are made, and that their partner will be entitled to a portion of it. This is a valid concern, and one that requires us to look at various factors.
Firstly, and most importantly, you must disclose your inheritance to the other side. Inheritance that is received, even after separation, is considered part of the assets that need to be discussed when reaching a property settlement.
Secondly, how much, if any of the inheritance, is your ex partner entitled to? This part is a little more complex and the Court’s approach will vary, based on each individual case and its circumstances.
If you receive an inheritance after separation, naturally, you would like it to be excluded from the asset pool, however the Court considers many factors in how your assets will be divided.
The asset pool needs to be dealt with as at the time of final separation (when you finalise the terms of your settlement). This does not mean that the inheritance will be split equally between both parties. The Court looks at various factors when settling property matters:
- Is it just and equitable for there to be a division of assets?
- Contributions – at the beginning of the relationship did someone come in with more money, or a house etc
- Future needs – does someone have medical conditions? Is there significant earning disparity between the parties? Is someone a primary carer of the kids? This is weighed up against contributions, but the Court will definitely take these needs into consideration when making adjustments.
Based on the above factors, the Court will make adjustments, including the portion of inheritance that your ex partner is entitled to.
If you are expecting to receive an inheritance before you have formalised your property settlement, the best thing to do is to seek advice from a family lawyer. The team of lawyers at Respect specialise in Wills and Estates and property matters and will be able to guide you based on your individual circumstances.
About Respect Legal
Respect Legal is here to disrupt traditional ways of practicing family law through our respectful approach to dispute resolution. We focus on outcomes that strengthen families, rather than tear them apart.
Our team of highly skilled lawyers are leaders in their field who provide expert advice and guidance through complex legal processes so you can achieve an outcome that works best for you and your family.