It doesn’t matter whether you live in an equitable distribution state like Florida or in the small handful of states that follow the community property approach in a divorce. Inheritance is almost always considered property that solely belongs to just one spouse. However, there are some missteps you can make that may cause your inheritance to be considered joint property with your spouse.

Here’s what you need to know:

If you take the funds you received from an inheritance and deposit them into a joint savings account that you share with your spouse, then you have effectively commingled your assets. They’ll no longer be considered solely yours once you do this.

The same logic applies if you take property or an automobile that you inherit and place your spouse’s name on it. Once you do this, it will officially belong the two of you and not just one of you anymore.

This logic also applies to any inheritance that you receive and use to make repairs to a property that the two of your co-own. Once this happens, the value of those improvements is jointly owned.

A spouse who receives an inheritance can avoid commingling their assets by taking any inheritance and depositing it in an account that they alone control.

It’s possible to prove that an inherited item is just their own by showing a receipt or note that accompanied the item hinting at this. If it indicates that the gift was specifically intended for them, then they may be able to convince a divorce attorney that it should remain theirs.

If a husband or wife abstains from adding their spouse’s name to a deed, then it’s unlikely to be considered as commingled. If that property is rented out though, then any of those payments may be considered as a marital asset to be split up among the spouses.

Inheritances often aren’t expected. Divorce isn’t either. If a property, money or some other sizable gift has been left to you during your marriage, then a Kissimmee property division attorney can aid you in determining what assets and debts are marital ones. They can strategize with you about how to help you keep what you’re rightfully entitled to.