Search Site
Menu
Inheritances & Divorce

Buffalo Law Firm Helps Protect Inheritances During Divorce

Knowledgeable divorce attorneys advise on treatment of bequests under New York law

A common question from spouses considering divorce is whether an inheritance acquired before or during the marriage is part of the marital estate. These bequests can muddy the waters of marital property, particularly in high net worth families where substantial assets might be transferred from one generation to the next.

At the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis in Williamsville and downtown Buffalo, we are committed to tackling complex cases that require an experienced attorney who can help distinguish inherited assets from comingled property to protect your interests.

Skilled family lawyers handle equitable distribution disputes relating to inheritance

New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that if spouses cannot agree on property division during a divorce, a judge reviews the marital estate with the goal of giving each party a fair, though not necessarily equal, share. This approach takes into account numerous factors, including the length of the marriage and the contribution of each spouse to the household, childcare, and finances.

Inheritances given to one individual spouse are considered separate from the marital estate, regardless of whether they occurred before or during the marriage. However, couples often comingle inheritance funds by putting them toward other assets or investments, such as a home purchase or jointly held brokerage account. Once those funds are placed into the mix of marital property, it can be difficult to show to a court what derives from the inheritance and what is part of a couple’s shared assets, particularly in divorces of high net worth couples with complex financial holdings.

Prenuptial agreements may preserve inheritance for a spouse during divorce

One important factor that will affect whether an inheritance is considered separate property is whether the parties entered into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that includes language about an existing or expected inheritance. If a prenuptial agreement is in place setting forth clear terms regarding inherited assets and commingling, we will advise if you can expect that it will be enforced. Still, if the spouse who received an inheritance did not maintain sole ownership of the inherited assets, it is possible that even with a prenuptial agreement a court could decide that all or part of the inheritance is marital property and should be part of the asset division equation. An experienced family law attorney who has handled disputes over the effect of prenuptial agreements on inherited funds can provide valuable counsel.

Contact a Buffalo divorce lawyer about the treatment of an inheritance

Call the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis today at 716-886-9600  or contact our firm online to schedule an initial consultation regarding the classification of inherited assets and other key issues in your divorce. From our offices in Williamsville and downtown Buffalo, we represent clients living throughout Western New York.

Randy  S.  Margulis Attorney Photo
Randy S. Margulis
Member

As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 27 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.

Alexandra M. Rockwood Attorney Photo
Alexandra M. Rockwood
Associate

Alexandra M. Rockwood is an Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis & Associates and has been with the firm since early 2020. She practices primarily in the areas of matrimonial and family law. Ms. Rockwood graduated magna cum laude from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in History and minors in Political…

Reviews & Ratings
  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Divorce is always an unpleasant event and my case was no exception, yet the guidance, professionalism and ethical strategy that Randy Margulis provided was essential in finding the best solutions for my children, my ex-wife and myself. As the proces...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Divorce is always an unpleasant event and my case was no exception, yet the guidance, professionalism and ethical strategy that Randy Margulis provided was essential in finding the best solutions for my children, my ex-wife and myself. As the proces...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Randy Margulis is knowledgable of Domestic Law, dedicated, responsive, personable, aggressive and effective. I came to him on a friend's recommendation as well as Randy's reputation, and during the initial consultation I liked his approach and track ...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Found Mr. Margulis to be a very organized and professional individual to work with. He is well-respected by his peers and is spoken of highly, I believe this helped with my divorce and made things go smoothly. I would highly recommend his services ...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Randy is very firm and effective in court while empathetic to his clients. I am a domestic violence victim, and Randy made me feel safe and protected. My financial award was more than I envisioned it to be when I started my divorce. I can't thank ...

    Read more

    Client

See all reviews
AWARDS
BUFFALO / WESTERN NY
  • Niagara
  • Tonawanda
  • Amherst
  • Cheektowaga
  • Hamburg
  • Lancaster
  • Orchard Park
  • West Seneca
  • Akron
  • Batavia
  • Clarence
  • Kenmore
  • Lockport
Contact us

Quick Contact Form