Oshawa Inheritance Lawyers

Gifts from family members and inheritances come in many forms: sometimes it is in the form of cash, like money for a down payment. Other forms include artwork, cars, real estate, trust funds, and so on. Often, spouses wish to exclude such items from their net family property so that their spouse cannot access them in the event of separation or divorce. Indeed, inheritances can sometimes become a contentious issue between former partners when they are going through a separation or divorce, especially if the inheritance is substantial, or is part of a high-net worth divorce. However, there are steps people can take to mitigate potential disputes and to protect their inheritances from being subjected to the property division rules. At Borden Family Law, we have been representing clients in various family law matters, including how to deal with disputes over inheritances or gifts after the breakdown of a marriage, for 17 years. We have helped both parties in such disputes: the party seeking to protect their inheritance, and the party wanting to enforce a possible entitlement to the inheritance.

How to Protect an Inheritance or Other Major Gift During Divorce

For a gift or inheritance to be excluded from net family property, that gift or inheritance must have been gifted or given to one spouse only by a third party (for instance parents, grandparents, other family members or others), and cannot have been gifted from one spouse to the other. If you separate and want to make sure an inheritance or gift is not included in your net family property, you will first have to show that the gift or inheritance is still in existence on the date of separation. Your gift or inheritance does not the need to be in the same form in which it was received to do this. For instance, you could have used the money from a gift or inheritance to purchase property (so long as it is not the matrimonial home). If the money can be traced to the original gift, it can be excluded. This tracing process can often be complicated, especially if something is purchased using a combination of inherited funds and other family funds. In cases of complex inheritance and other estate issues, you will require the assistance of a knowledgeable family lawyer with experience in estates. At Borden Family Law, we have been figuring out intricate and technical estate issues for our clients for 17 years. With close to two decades of experience, we can help you plan and manage your estate effectively, and deal with any estate issues that may arise in divorce and separation.

When an Inheritance is Subject to Property Division Rules

There are a number of situations in which a gift or inheritance will be subject to property division rules, and your spouse may be entitled part of it:
  • Cash put into a joint bank account: if the gift or inheritance is in the form of cash and you put it in a joint bank account, the property division rules will apply and your spouse will be entitled to that inheritance. By putting the money in a joint account or into a property with both of your names on it, the court presumes that you intended to make a gift of half of the money to your spouse. You would only be able to exclude the half that is still yours, not the entire inheritance.
  • Money invested into the matrimonial home: if the gift or inheritance is put towards the matrimonial home, then your spouse will be entitled to it. Anything to do with the matrimonial home will be subject to the property division rules under the Family Law Act. This includes paying for the mortgage, paying for renovations, using the gift for a down payment, etc.
  • Income from an inherited property: income from a gift will not be excluded: for example, if you inherited property, and you rented it out, any income from that rental property will be included in your date of separation assets.
  • Gifts and inheritances that have increased in value during the marriage: gifts and inheritances that were received prior to marriage, and later grew in value during the marriage will also be subject to the property division rules. Any value accrued during the marriage will be subject to the rules, and will be included in your net family property.

Knowledgeable and Strategic Oshawa Family Lawyers Assisting Clients in Protecting their Inheritances and Gifts

At Borden Family Law, we have been helping clients with their family law matters for 17 years. We understand that inheritances and gifts can sometimes cause tension in a divorce or separation. We know how you can protect those assets, and we can help you do so. We can also help you retrieve inheritances from your spouse that you may be entitled to. Call us at 905-576-6090, or contact us online. Ask about our flat fees.