One of every two marriages ends in divorce. And while your adult son or daughter’s marriage seems to be solid right now, what if something happens and they end up divorcing?
It’s important that you do as much as you can in your estate planning to protect your children’s inheritance. You worked hard for that money and don’t want to see it lost in the sad case of a child’s divorce.
In New Jersey, it is the case that an inheritance can be kept as your child’s if she received it in her name only or if she received it before the marriage and kept the inheritance in her name only.
New Jersey law N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(h) notes that inheritances or gifts obtained either before or during the marriage can be exempt from equitable distribution in a divorce. This means that if, say, daughter Janet received her father’s inheritance before she was married, it’s hers to keep; and if Janet received the inheritance during her marriage, it is also hers to keep. But, if Janet put the inheritance into a joint account with both her and her husband’s name on the account, or she retitled inherited property to include both her and her husband’s name, then this inheritance would become part of the community property of the marriage and subject to equitable division.
It might be wise to consider how to include protection for just such an eventuality in your will and estate plan.
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If you want to discuss planning for your estate, are responsible for an estate or are a beneficiary and you believe an estate is being mismanaged, contact our office for a free consultation.