Is an Inheritance Considered Marital Property in New York?

A person wearing a suit using their hands to separate four puzzle pieces sitting on a table. The puzzle pieces have money bag symbols on them.

Divorce is never easy, especially when it comes to dividing assets and property. One question many people have when considering divorce is what will happen to their inheritance. If you have received an inheritance or are expecting to receive one soon, it's important to understand how New York law treats inherited assets in divorce proceedings.

Does Inheritance Count as Marital Property in New York?

Firstly, let's define marital property. In New York, marital property is any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or deed. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including assets received as a gift or inheritance. That being said, there are some cases in which an inheritance can be considered marital property, and therefore subject to equitable distribution.

In What Situations Can Inheritance Be Considered Marital Property?

A common situation where an inheritance may be considered marital property is if the recipient has combined their inherited assets with their marital funds. This means that if you inherited a sum of money and added it to a joint bank account that you share with your spouse, it may be difficult to prove that the inheritance is solely yours and not subject to division in a divorce.

Additionally, if you used your inheritance to purchase property or assets that were shared with your spouse, such as a family home or investment property, then the inheritance may also be considered marital property. It's important to keep accurate records and document the source of funds used for any joint purchases.

When Is Inheritance Considered Separate Property in New York?

On the other hand, assets received as an inheritance that are kept separate from marital property and are not combined with marital funds are generally considered separate property and not subject to division in divorce proceedings. This includes inherited assets such as cash, stocks, or real estate.

Finally, it is worth noting that, although an inheritance may be considered separate property, the income generated by that inheritance during the marriage may be considered marital property. For example, if you inherited a rental property and collected rent during your marriage, that income would likely be subject to equitable distribution.

Speak with Our Experienced Property Division Attorneys in Dutchess County About Your Situation Today

At Letterio & Haug, LLP, our property division lawyers specialize in providing strategic and tailored legal representation for complex cases. When a couple divorces, the division of their marital property becomes a vital consideration.

While some couples are able to reach an amicable agreement, in many instances, the court has to step in to determine the fairest division. With nearly two decades of combined experience, our team of property division attorneys is well-equipped to handle marital property disputes and ensure that our clients' interests are protected.

Read our clients’ testimonials to learn more about our team of family law attorneys.

Call us at (845) 203-0997 or connect with us online today to schedule a confidential consultation with our marital property attorneys in Dutchess County.

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