An inheritance is so much more than just money or property. Many people feel as if it is a parting gift from a loved one, which comes with emotional ties. But what happens to that inheritance during a divorce? While some heirs in Ohio might assume their inheritances will not end up in property division, this is not always the case.

Whether someone receives an inheritance before or during divorce, it is generally considered separate property. There is an exception to this rule, though — commingling. Combining an inheritance with marital assets or using it for marital expenses will cause the inheritance to lose its status as separate property.

Commingling can occur in a number of ways. For example, depositing an inheritance into a joint marital account can quickly turn it into marital property even if it is only used for personal expenses. Keeping an inheritance in a personal account might be more appropriate, but this is not a foolproof way to maintain it as separate property. Using the funds for marital expenses — like bills or home repairs — can also be problematic.

Heirs may not be thinking about possibly filing for divorce while grieving the loss of a loved one, and they are not thinking about protecting their inheritances either. This means that sometimes protecting one’s most important assets takes place primarily during property division. Having a firm understanding of Ohio family law can be quite helpful in a situation such as this, so many people choose to seek out the guidance of an experienced attorney.