Great question. Inheritances are generally considered separate property. Sometimes separate property is considered when awarding alimony. For example, if she was otherwise entitled to alimony, the Judge should consider an inheritance to the extent that it could limit or eliminate the need for alimony. There are only limited circumstances in which a Judge would invade separate property for the purpose of property division. Separate property usually must be kept separate. If she used any of the money for marital purposes, such as paying down marital debts, it loses its separate nature and she is not entitled to a refund of the money she spent. The same is true with respect to vacations, furniture, cars or other things paid for with that money. She will likely get none of that back. This can be a tricky area of the law. Give me a call, I can help.
Michael Olson is a partner with the law firm of Matecun, Thomas & Olson, PLC in Howell. He answers readers’ questions on legal matters affecting individuals, their families and their businesses. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or if your question is urgent, call (517) 548-7400. The information in this column is not intended as legal advice.