Ways to Protect Your Child’s Inheritance in a Divorce

Ways to Protect Your Child’s Inheritance in a Divorce

Divorce is a rough thing for any family to face. When it comes to inheritance, it’s important to understand that these aren’t treated like other property. The key is whether marital property has commingled with the inheritance; if this hasn’t happened, inheritance, like pre-marital property, remains separate from the divorce proceedings.

However, there are times when parents need to take certain precautions to protect a child’s inheritance even from their own spouse or their child’s spouse. Learn these ways to protect your child’s inheritance following a divorce, and how an estate planning attorney can help you take the right steps.

Protect Your Child’s Inheritance

One of the biggest risks when it comes to protecting your child’s inheritance is the risk of commingling property. What this means is that when you treat anything as marital property owned by both spouses, it becomes fair game in a divorce proceeding. Estate planning can be essential to this process — it can outline exactly what does and does not count as community property, and where it’s supposed to go when you pass away.

Whether you’re going through a divorce and are concerned that your spouse might try to dip into your child’s inheritance, or you’re worried about your child being born outside of your marriage, there are steps you can take to protect your child’s inheritance, including explicit instructions in your will and setting up a trust.

Non-Marital Children

If you have a child who was born outside of wedlock, they will have certain inheritance rights, but it will require them to go through probate processes, and potentially fight to get what’s rightfully theirs. Each spouse will need to plan for the inheritance separately as well as sharing marital property as they deem best. It’s important to specify in your will that you want your non-marital child to have access to your estate.

Adult Children

Adult children who may be at risk for divorce my find their inheritance at risk. Parents who are concerned about this can take certain legal steps to protect that inheritance. This means that you cannot leave the property to the child and their spouse together in your will. You should be sure that the will specifies that the inheritance is strictly and only for your child. However, even if you do this, the child can still treat the inheritance like marital property, which can lead to confusion in divorce proceedings.

One way to protect this is to set the inheritance up as a trust which is solely in your child’s name. This will ensure that their soon-to-be-ex won’t be able to touch the inheritance you intend for your child.

Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer

If you’re looking for help with advice on how to protect your child’s inheritance, your best bet is to talk with an experienced estate planning lawyer. At Tanko Law, we’re here to guide you through the process and make sure that your child gets what you intend them to get. Give us a call for help and advice on setting up a will or trust today!

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