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Inheritance and Divorce

Overland Park Inheritance and Divorce Lawyers Help Protect Your Family Legacy

Kansas family law practitioners shield inheritances from division during divorce

Inherited property raises special issues in a divorce. While assets you inherit are generally treated as separate property, there are circumstances in which you must nevertheless divide them with your ex-spouse or sell them and divide the proceeds. The attorneys at The Henry Law Firm, P.A. can advise you on ways to protect and preserve your inheritance, both during and after divorce proceedings.

Protecting your inheritance from loss before the divorce

Under Kansas law, property you inherit or receive as a gift, even if acquired during the marriage, is considered separate property not subject to division of assets with your spouse during a divorce. The same is true of any income you derive from that property. However, you can knowingly or unknowingly take actions that cause inherited assets to lose their status as separate property and that then require you to divide them with your spouse. Ways in which this can happen include:

  • Putting your spouse’s name on the title to an asset
  • Allowing your spouse to contribute to improving or paying for the property, such as paying half of the mortgage
  • Commingling the inherited property with marital assets

However, there are affirmative steps you can take to prevent the property from becoming a marital asset, such as:

  • Negotiating and drafting effective prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that expressly prohibit treating inherited property as marital assets
  • Preserving documentation that proves the separate nature of your inherited property
  • Keeping the inherited property separate from jointly owned assets
  • Making sure your spouse doesn’t do, or pay, anything that might give him or her an interest in the inherited property
  • Putting the inherited property in a trust for your exclusive benefit

As your counsel, the attorneys at The Henry Law Firm, P.A. can assist you in taking all measures best suited to keeping your inheritance safe from division during a divorce. You should come to us before you marry or as soon as you inherit so that we can take prompt appropriate action.

Protecting your inheritance from loss during the divorce

If you are already amid a divorce and your spouse is claiming an interest in your inherited property, the attorneys at The Henry Law Firm, P.A. can still work to shield the property from division, in whole or in part. These claims usually arise when the non-inheriting spouse has contributed to the growth of an asset, through investment or other activity. That spouse may also claim an equitable interest if they drew income from the asset during the marriage, such as rent from a leased property. To counter the claim, the attorneys at The Henry Law Firm, P.A. can take such measures as:

  • Presenting any evidence that disproves or minimizes the spouse’s contributions
  • Negotiating an agreement that designates the inheritance as part of your share of the marital property
  • Arguing to the court that you are entitled to a larger share of the marital property in view of the division of the inheritance

In all respects, the attorneys at The Henry Law Firm, P.A. will develop a comprehensive plan to achieve just treatment of your inheritance during equitable distribution.

How the Kansas Legislature changed inheritance rights upon divorce

The Kansas legislature recently made an important change to the state’s inheritance law. A divorce or annulment of a marriage now serves to void any provision of a will or other document that:

  • Allows a former spouse to inherit your property
  • Allows a former spouse to decide who gets the property
  • Appoints a former spouse to be executor of your estate or trustee of your property or to hold any similar position concerning your estate

This doesn’t stop your previously inherited property from becoming marital property, but it does save you the trouble of having to write your ex-spouse out of your will. The attorneys at The Henry Law Firm, P.A. can advise you on how this new law may affect your property during a divorce.

Contact a respected Kansas attorney well-versed in division of assets during divorce

The attorneys at The Henry Law Firm, P.A., in Overland Park, Kansas, can help you protect your inheritance from the effects of divorce, even before your divorce proceedings begin, or limit the effect of prior decisions during divorce. Call us at 913-381-5020 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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