How to Protect Inheritance in an Ohio Divorce

Mature couple sitting on the sofa. They are both angry and have their arms crossed. They are concerned with protecting inheritance in an Ohio Divorce.

If you are considering divorce in Ohio, you likely have questions about how your property will be divided. Asset division in an Ohio divorce can be particularly contentious, especially if one spouse has received a significant inheritance. Questions about how courts treat inheritance in divorce also arise in estate planning. People are concerned that if they leave a large inheritance to a child and the child later seeks a divorce, the inheritance will be divided with the child’s ex-spouse. Whether you are seeking a divorce and need advice on protecting inheritance or are preparing your estate plan and want to protect an inheritance in divorce, the attorneys at RKPT are here to help.

Dividing Assets in Ohio Divorce

When it comes to divorce, Ohio is an equitable division state. This means that marital property is divided equitably between the spouses. Separate property stays with the spouse that brought the asset to the marriage. A preliminary question in any division of property in an Ohio divorce is whether assets are classified as marital property or separate property.

  • Marital property refers to assets and other items that were acquired during the marriage, such as the home, personal property, bank accounts, and retirement benefits.
  • Separate property includes assets and items that each spouse brought to the marriage. In some cases, property acquired during the marriage can still be classified as separate property.

When dividing assets, the judge starts from the presumption that marital property will be divided equally. The judge then evaluates whether circumstances warrant an equitable division of property in which the spouses receive different amounts.

An inheritance that is received after a couple is married can be treated as separate property. However, care must be taken to ensure that the inheritance retains its separate character.

Keeping Inheritance Separate in an Ohio Divorce

To protect an inheritance in divorce, you need to avoid having the inheritance classified as marital property. To do this, you must be able to trace the source of the inheritance to prove that it is not marital property. There are different ways to do this.

Prenuptial Agreement

A couple can use a prenuptial agreement to explain that an inheritance will remain separate property in the event of a divorce.

Keep the Inheritance Separate from Marital Funds

If you receive an inheritance, keep it in a separate account. During a divorce, this will make it easier to prove that the inheritance is not a marital asset.

Use a Trust

Create a trust that clearly names one spouse as the beneficiary and place the inheritance in the trust. During a divorce, the trust can be used to specify that trust assets are separate property.

Document the Inheritance

At a minimum, it is wise to keep documentation that describes the inheritance and that can be used to prove that the inheritance is separate property.

Estate Planning and Divorce

You may also wish to consider the potential impact of a divorce as you prepare your estate plan. If you intend to pass an inheritance on to a child, you may have concerns about what would happen to the inheritance if your child seeks a divorce. You may also have concerns about how a divorce would affect your estate plan if you seek a divorce.

As you prepare your estate plan, the experienced estate planning attorneys at RKPT can suggest strategies that will protect the inheritance if you or your child seeks a divorce.

Contact RKPT for Help Protecting Inheritance in Divorce

At RKPT, our divorce and estate planning attorneys can explain your options and help you protect an inheritance in the event of a divorce.

We invite you to learn more about our family law and personal planning services and to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Categories: Estate Planning