Under the law in New York, inheritances received during the marriage by one spouse are that spouse’s separate property. So at the time of divorce or separation, they are not part of the marital pot for equitable distribution purposes. There are certain things that could have occurred from the time the person received the inheritance to the time of a divorce, making the other spouse argue that the character of that inheritance is now, in fact, marital property. However, that is an argument that needs to be advanced to the court and ultimately possibly decided by the court based upon the unique set of circumstances and facts surrounding that other spouse’s argument. Generally speaking, if you have an inheritance during the marriage and you keep it in a separate account in your own name and did not use it for marital purposes in any way, shape, or form, upon divorce you get to keep that inheritance separate from your spouse.
Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.