Inheritance Matters in Divorce
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Naperville

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DuPage County Divorce and Inheritance Attorneys

Inheritance and Divorce Lawyers in Naperville, IL

Divorce often involves both proprietary and personal inheritance matters. Although Illinois law classifies inherited property as non-marital property, distinguishing between marital and non-marital assets can be blurry. Either due to the stroke of a pen or the culmination of a series of seemingly insignificant decisions, inherited property can transform into marital property. 

In a similar vein, divorce often spawns other family law issues, most notably stepparent adoption and business title matters. If these documents are inconsistent with wills, trusts, and other estate planning instruments, the result can be expensive and time-consuming litigation that no one really desires. Effective pre-divorce and divorce planning can help you avoid these difficulties.

Whenever your legal or financial rights are threatened, Pesce Law Group, P.C. attorneys quickly evaluate the situation and take decisive action. Whether they are negotiating at a conference room table or advocating for you in court, our professionals are not satisfied with anything less than the best possible result for you and your family.

Real and Personal Property

While it is true that 750 ILCS 503(a) classifies "property acquired by gift, legacy or descent" as non-marital assets, the very next provision, 750 ILCS 503(b), states that "all property acquired by either spouse after the marriage...is presumed to be marital property." A spouse contesting this designation must prove its classification by clear and convincing evidence, which is one of the highest burdens in a civil proceeding.

Generally speaking, non-marital property can become marital property in one of two ways:

  • Transmutation: Many times, real or personal property may be retitled for an emotional reason or for the sake of expediency. A couple may want Wife's inherited house to become "their" home, or Husband may want Wife as a co-business owner to become eligible for additional financial assistance. Both these moves have short-term benefits and long-term consequences.
  • Commingling: Wife may receive periodic advances on her inheritance and deposit these funds into a joint account or she may contribute funds to Husband's inherited stock portfolio. In both these examples, the inheritance has effectively lost its status as non-marital property.

A timely executed spousal agreement can sometimes address these concerns. An even better practice is to carefully segregate inherited funds. Note that keeping these items separate is not the same thing as concealing them.

Commercial Issues

Make sure that a family business stays in the family. More specifically, make sure it goes where you want it to go. For estate planning purposes, divorce and adoption are tantamount to death. Both your business plan, and any family law documents, should accurately reflect your wishes.

Let the capable attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C. protect your inheritance rights in a divorce. Contact us today at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation. After-hours and weekend appointments are available.

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