Sarah Walker: How is your inheritance going to be treated in your family law property matter?

Hi, my name’s Sarah Walker and I’m a lawyer with the family law team at Turnbull Hill lawyers. Today I’ll be talking about inheritances and how they’re treated in your family law property matter.

It’s not uncommon for one party to receive an inheritance during a relationship. When parties separate, there is a misconception that inheritance will not be considered part of the asset pool, this is incorrect.

Case law in the area suggests that an inheritance that is received during a relationship falls into the asset pool. What does this mean for you if you’re going through a property settlement? The case law in the area has further suggested that such matters are considered on a case-by-case basis. Factors that are important in how your inheritance is treated are such as when the inheritance was received and the size of the inheritance compared to the rest of the asset pool.

In relation to when the inheritance is received, if an inheritance is received earlier in the relationship, often this is treated as an asset of the relationship and is not treated any differently to any other asset such as a family home. If an inheritance is received later in the relationship or even after separation, it may be treated differently. It will still be considered property but may be considered as either a, an asset or b, a financial resource. If an inheritance will be treated as a financial resource, the court will generally consider that this is a resource available to one party that may place them in a stronger financial position.

How the court accounts for this is that the other party who does not have access to this financial resource may receive a greater percentage of the asset pool. With any property settlement, the courts consider the value of assets at the time of the hearing, therefore it can be important to act quite quickly on your property settlement matter. It is important to remember that each case is assessed on its own facts, therefore it can be critical to obtain legal advice to advise you of your entitlements.

If you would like to know how your inheritance is treated in your family law property settlement, please give us a call at Turnbull Hill lawyers.

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