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If one party in a marriage (separted for 3 years, but not legally) comes into an inheritance, in WA is that community property?

Snohomish, WA |

The wife has taken all money from sold duplex property and her husband (my brother) is paying the taxes on that profit. Our mother just died and our step dad has a will dividing their net worth 4 ways for the four kids (no spouses' names are included).

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Attorney answers 6


I am sorry that you are going through this, you have a good argument that it should not be part of the martial estate given the time, pleas work with a local attny he or she will help you.

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An inheritance even if received during. Marriage is the SEPARATE propert of the person who inherited the property. Your brother needs to seek a local attorneys assistance quickly if he wants to put a stop to the losses. Good luck to him.

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I agree with my colleagues that the property is separate. However, the character of the property can change depending on how it is treated once it's received. Your question also has a probate element to it. Just to be clear, the Will your step-dad has is your mother's, correct? Has the Will been admitted to probate in Superior Court?

I take it there is no pending dissolution action between your brother and his wife? How did the wife get her hands on the proceeds? It sounds like that should never have happened. Your brother's recourse may be through litigation against his wife or the personal representative of your mother' estate. Your brother should consult with counsel about this.

This answer is intended to provide general guidance only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consider retaining legal counsel if you remain uncertain about your rights.


In Wa. state, and inheritance is considered to be separate property.

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As this is a question of Washington state law, please make sure you are getting good advice from attorneys who are familiar with and licensed to practice in Washington.

Inheritance is separate property in Washington unless it is commingled with community assets after you receive it.

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Property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be community property unless it is acquired by gift or inheritance. From your description, you have no claim on this property.

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