It is very common for people to receive an inheritance from their parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings. They may even receive an inheritance when no will or trust existed under Nevada’s “intestate succession laws,” which determine how an estate is to be divided when the decedent died “intestate” or without a will.
If you are headed toward divorce and you or your spouse have received an inheritance, or you expect one of you to receive one in the near future, you may be wondering if an inheritance is considered community (marital property) under Nevada’s divorce laws. This is a good question, which we address below.
Nevada is a Community Property State
For starters, we want to point out that Nevada is a community property state, which means that income and assets acquired during the course of a marriage are considered “community property,” which belongs to both spouses equally regardless of who earned the income or which spouse’s name is on the title. The separate property, however, is not subject to division.
Generally, separate property includes:
- Income and assets acquired before the marriage
- Personal injury awards acquired during the marriage in one spouse’s name alone
- Gifts and inheritances received during the marriage by one spouse alone
Inheritances Are Usually Separate
As you can see, we mentioned how inheritances bequeathed to one spouse are separate property, however, there are exceptions to the rule. If a spouse receives an inheritance and it is commingled with community assets, it can be too difficult to determine what is separate and what is “community” property; therefore, an inheritance may be considered community property depending on the facts of the case.
For example, if “John” received a $1 million dollar inheritance when his mother passed and he deposited into the joint checking account he had with his wife, “Mary,” and the couple used the money to pay off their mortgage and pay their daughter’s college tuition, and later Mary deposited all of her paychecks in the same account, the inheritance may count as community property.
On the other hand, if John deposited the money into a checking account with only his name on it, and the money was never used to buy real estate (or another marital asset) the couple owned jointly, the inheritance in John’s account will most likely be considered John’s separate property.
We hope you found the information in this article helpful. If you need further advice, contact Ford & Friedman to meet with a member of our legal team.