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My mom gave us a gift of several thousand dollars from an inheritance she received from the death of my dad and brother.

Lakeland, FL |

We have used it to pay off a 2nd mortgage, buy a new car, did some renovations on the house and so on. We still have several thousand dollars left in a joint account. Since we are filing for a divorce soon and if I close out the account and take the money and put it in another savings account, is she still entitled to half of that money?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Once you put the money in a joint account and commingled the money, there will be an argument that it is no longer separate property and your spouse could try to get half of it in the divorce. With that said, closing the account and moving it to a sole and separate account would still be a good idea. It would have been better to have placed your inheritance in an account in your name only. Anything received by gift, bequest, or that is received prior to the marriage is separate property and if you keep it separate, then generally a Court will allow you to keep 100% of these funds. It appears you have not done this, so perhaps you want to use these funds for other purposes like to pay for attorney's fees, to buy food, or pay for expenses for the kids if you have any, prior to the divorce so the issue will be moot in the divorce.

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Posted

An inheritance kept separate is not a marital asset and not subject to a split.
If you added it to a joint account-she would be entitled to 1/2 because you gave
it you to her in a joint account.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

but if i close out the joint acct and put it into an acct with just my name on it, is that still considered an even split between us?

Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Posted

Could be discovered in a deposition-so-yes

Posted

By placing the funds into a joint account, you have comingled the gifting received by your mom. My suspicion is that the monies left over will have to be split equally with your wife.

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Posted

I agree with the answers provided by the other attorneys. My understanding of the facts follows: You and your wife ("we") used the inheritance that your mother received and gifted to you and your wife ("us") to pay off a second mortgage on real estate which presumably you and your wife own, to buy a new car (was title taken in the name of you and your wife?), to make some renovations to your residence which presumably you and your wife own, etc. You deposited the remaining funds into a joint bank account owned by you and your wife. Assuming my understanding of the facts is correct: You most likely converted the gift you received from your mother into marital funds. Consequently, if you close out the respective bank account and deposit the funds into another bank account, your wife through a divorce probably will be able to make a claim against the funds.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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