Is My Spouse Entitled to a Part of My Inheritance?

Is My Spouse Entitled to a Part of My Inheritance?

Marital property is shared property that two spouses acquire during their marriage. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, rather than a community property state. Therefore, under New Jersey law, inheritances are considered separate property, not marital property. This means a spouse is not entitled to it unless it is converted into marital property, usually by commingling.

Commingling Assets

If an inheritance is commingled with marital property, it loses the protection of being separate property. Commingling would mean that the inheritance was mixed together with martial money or property. If the inheritance is put into a joint account, then your spouse would be entitled to half of the inheritance if you lived in a community property state. However, if you live in an equitable distribution state like New Jersey, your spouse would still be entitled to the inheritance, but not necessarily half of it.

Non-Monetary Contributions

If the inheritance is property instead of money, then any non-monetary contributions from your spouse to that property can leave it unprotected. For example, if you inherit a house and your spouse helps improve the condition of the house, it might cease being considered separate property. A court would consider the amount of work the spouse put into fixing the house to decide if it is separate property or not. To keep the property separate, the best course of action is to not include the spouse in repairs, or pay someone to repair the property without using marital money.


One of the best ways to protect an inheritance is a prenup, which is an agreement a couple can sign before their marriage that addresses a range of financial issues. This document can be drafted to only apply to the inheritance so that all other assets in the relationship are not subject to the contract. A prenup is a strong way to protect inheritance from a spouse.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

A spouse is not automatically entitled to your inheritance, and an inheritance can be legally protected. However, your spouse can have a claim to the inheritance depending on its status as separate or marital property. If you have any questions on how to keep your inheritance separate from your marital property, contact an experienced attorney today.

Contact Our Attorneys Today

Start With A Free Case Evaluation







    Unique Challenges of Later-in-Life Divorces 10Apr
    Unique Challenges of Later-in-Life Divorces Posted by Moskowitz Law Group, LLC
    The Role of Technology in Child Custody Disputes 08Apr
    The Role of Technology in Child Custody Disputes Posted by Content
    Divorces Involving Children with Special Needs 02Apr
    Divorces Involving Children with Special Needs Posted by Moskowitz Law Group, LLC
    How to Budget for a Divorce 29Mar
    How to Budget for a Divorce Posted by Content

    No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice or tax advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time an attorney-client relationship has been established. Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances. Consultations are offered for those who retain the firm.

    ©Copyright 2024Moskowitz Law Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Contact Us
    [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]