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.
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.
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.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.