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
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.