In Tennessee, an inheritance is considered to be separate property whether you received it before or during the marriage. What can change an inheritance from separate to marital property is what you do with the money during the marriage.


You received an inheritance which you deposited into a savings account that is owned by you and your spouse. Your intention was to save that money and use it to buy a home one day. Years go by and each of you contributes to that savings account, but you never end up buying that home. Since you deposited the inheritance check into an account owned by both of you, and both added additional money to that balance over the years, the inheritance has now become co-mingled with marital assets, so it can no longer be considered to be separate property. It is subject to division by the court.


You pick up your inheritance check from an attorney’s office. After work, you go directly to the bank and open a new savings account in your name only where you deposit the check. Years pass and the balance grows, but you are the only one who has access to that account, you are the only one who deposits money into the account and those funds are never commingled with any of your other joint accounts, so it remains separate property. It is safe from division during a divorce.

Life is full of the unexpected. If you are contemplating divorce, or even if divorce is the furthest thing from your mind, our office can advise you on the best measures to take to protect your inheritance.

Leave a Reply.