Divorce & Inheritance – What Are My Rights?

Chloe BeeversElderly Client, Family Law, Family Law, Site News, Site News, Site News, Wills

Divorce & Inheritance - What Are My Rights?

Going through a divorce can be an upsetting and stressful experience. There are many factors separating couples need to deal with such as finances, assets and child arrangements.

Over the course of the marriage, one partner may have inherited some assets or may be acquiring some inheritance in the future, and may be concerned how divorce and inheritance are linked.

In this article our experienced Wills and Estate Solicitors explain the link between divorce and inheritance and what your rights are.

Divorce & Inheritance

Inheritance refers to the assets a person receives after the death of a relative. The inheritance could be in the form of money, or assets such as a house, car or jewellery etc.

When a marriage breaks down, divorcing couples may wonder what their rights to inheritance are. In England and Wales, inheritance that has been received or may be acquired in the future is not automatically included when splitting assets during a divorce. However, depending on the circumstances, they can be taken into account.

Your Rights to Inheritance After Divorce

Assets are split into either matrimonial or non-matrimonial assets. Matrimonial assets refer to the property and money you or your ex-spouse acquired during your marriage and in most cases the family home will be treated as a matrimonial asset.

Non-matrimonial assets refer to the property and money that have been acquired prior to marriage or after separation and can include inheritance monies.

Matrimonial assets are automatically entered into the pot of assets, to be divided in the divorce settlement. However, non-matrimonial assets such as inheritance do not automatically go in the pot of assets. If the matrimonial assets are not enough to provide for you both, depending on your wealth and standard of living, the Court may take into account any inheritance acquired during the marriage. For example, if the inheritance was held in a joint bank account and the whole family benefitted from it, the Court may then include some or all of it when distributing the assets.

Any future inheritance is not usually taken into account because it cannot be established when it might be paid, how much it will be, or if it will be paid at all as a person’s Will may be changed in the future.

Can I Make an Inheritance Claim Against My Ex-Spouse’s Estate?

Yes, you can make an inheritance claim against your ex-spouse’s estate if:

  • They had not re-married or formed a civil partnership.
  • The parties had failed to agree upon a clean break financial settlement order during the divorce. The Court will take into account the terms of any financial settlement orders reached through the divorce process, but ongoing maintenance payments could give rise to a claim. Any financial settlement order or agreement between the parties does not exclude the right to bring a claim against the estate.
  • The inheritance claim must be brought within 6 months of the Grant of Probate being issued.

Wills & Estate Solicitors

Morrish Solicitors is a long-established law firm based in West Yorkshire providing a range of legal services both regionally and nationally. Our experienced Wills and Estate Solicitors are fully trained and specialise in all aspects of Wills, Probate and Estates. We can manage your case sensitively and professionally.

With many years’ experience providing legal services we can help you plan for the future, providing security and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. We offer the following services:

If you would like advice on any of these matters, please contact us on 033 3344 9600 or simply email [email protected].

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