Pay Dirt is Slate’s money advice column. I have a question? Send here to Lillian, Athena and Elizabeth. (Anonymous!)
Mr. Pay Dart
Since my mother’s recent death, I’ve been wondering if I should keep my inheritance in a separate property, or mix it with a joint account I share with my husband.
No debt, owns real estate, cash/share/401(k) totals about $1.25 million. My inheritance is about $100,000 from my mother, but most of her fortune is in trust that I will receive after her father’s death. My cut will be about $1 million. My mother strongly believed that if it made a difference, I should keep it on a separate property. Should I inform her husband of the inheritance if I am not confused?
— Missing Mommy
Dear Missing Mom
We apologize for the inconvenience. In accordance with the wishes of the mother, the inherited property must be kept separate from the marital property. Do not put it in a joint account or use it to maintain common property. Your mother may have made it clear to keep it separate property. I understand the power of being married and having my own moneyThis is especially true if you are a heterosexual couple.Remember, it wasn’t that long ago married woman I was not allowed to have my own bank account. We have come a long way in gender equality, According to some statistics, women’s household income dropped by 41% after divorce after age 50., men fell only 23%. Other researchers The poverty rate for separated women is 27%almost three times more than divorced men.
Keeping your money separate is a form of insurance. Relationships (and people) change, and inheritances are treated differently under divorce law in most states, unless mixed. For example, if you keep your inheritance in a joint bank account, it is considered community property and may be divided equally in a divorce. In addition to protecting your assets in the event of a divorce, it also helps protect money from your husband’s creditors. You understand how to separate money from a legal standpoint.
I want to tell your husband that you have an inheritance and your mother wants you to keep it as a separate nest egg. You don’t have to provide exact numbers. Just discussing a million dollars in trust since your father passed away. There’s no reason to bring up money that isn’t yours yet (and depending on the type of trust, you may not be able to see that money if your father needs it for living expenses).
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