Post # 1
I recently lost my father (unexpectedly), and unbeknownst to me or my brother, he had a few large insurance policies that will significantly be helping us out. I’ll be able to wipe out all of my student loan debt, have money for a down payment on a house next year and more.
I’m concerned about the ‘and more’. It’s not that I want to keep it from Fiance, as I plan to use it to save for our future, mini vacations here and there etc. But I feel like it is money for my brother and I from my father to take care of ourselves. If god forbid the marriage didn’t work out, I don’t feel that Fiance would be entiteld to that money. If it is kept in a separate savings account prior to and after the marriage, but things didn’t work out, would he be able to fight for that?
Not that I ever think he would, but you always see people acting in a way you’d never expect when dragged through a divorce, and I want to make sure I am protected.
Is it wrong for me to want to protect that? What would you do?
Post # 3
First off, I’m sorry for your loss!
Generally speaking anything acquired before the marriage is your property, and anything you inherit, even during the marriage, is your property. If you wanted to make it easier to trace you might want to put it in a separate account. Again, speaking generally without knowing specifics, whatever you purchase with that money is also considered to be your property (as opposed to marital property) so if you have it in a separate account it would be easy to show “hey this ___ was purchased with my separate money, so it’s all mine.”
But like I said, I don’t know the specifics about your state laws, that’s just what my general understanding is.
ETA – And no it’s not wrong for you to want to protect yourself. Totally rational! My aunt and uncle have been married for 40 years or something and when her mother died it was made very clear that that was her money and she could do whatever she wanted with it.
Post # 4
@Natalieh86: I agree with this.
Post # 5
I’m not a lawyer but if you had a prenup I believe you could protect any assets you had going in to the marriage. I think it would be harder to protect without a prenup (but the lawyer bees can tell you for sure!).
Post # 6
Post # 7
I dont know anything about the laws and stuff… but i just wanted to say that I definitely dont think its wrong of you to think to protect yourself and your inheritance. If the unthinkable happens, I’m certain your father would want YOU protected, and none of his money going to anyone else.
Post # 8
sorry for your loss 🙁
you are not wrong to want to keep these assets for yourself and brother. research it but if you receive it before marriage, keep it in a separate account, and it’s money clearly left to you by your father (verifiable by paperwork/will/etc) then it shouldnt be considered part of your combined assets. better safe than sorry!
Post # 9
Definitely, talk to a lawyer and talk about a prenup. I know laws vary from state to state ( or country- not sure where you are located). While I don’t think if you were married he has the right to any of it, but if you should pass away/ get a divorce, it gets tricky.
Post # 10
Thank you! I feel better about it being ok to want to protect myself!
Especially because after I clear my debts I’ll be working with Fiance to pay his debt off together with our income rather than the inheritance.
Post # 11
Stuff like this is difficult to think about up front.
Would your Fiancee be offended at the idea of a pre-nup? I have heard that inheritances are not subject to divorce splitting up possessions… but I do not know that for sure and it may be different in difference states. Check into it if needed. But, what happens if that money is put into a house that you both own? That’s where the pre-nup might be good.
Let me explain a friends situation. He married someone who was somewhat handicap. She could go out and get a job, but without going into a lot of explaination she would not. She does get disability and SSI. He has a decent job. She treated her money as her money and his money as ‘their’ money. She would spend far more than him, then give him crap about spending comparatively little amounts. They did not have money troubles, but let’s just say I would never have put up with her attitude about finances.
They get divorced and have maybe 10k in debt (which she essentially generated). She has inheritance money from her father. She wants him to take over the debt she generated and does not feel he should get any of the inheritance money.
So… take a look at this from both sides. Talk to a financial planner would be my advice.
Post # 12
So sorry for the loss of your dad.
Absolutely you should protect yourself – This is EXACTLY the type of situation that a pre-nup was invented for (well, that and if you’re a bazillionaire….lol).
One note, however, that struck me. And I don’t know how to word it because I don’t know you…. so it could just be my ex-husband and selfish-financial-syndrome rearing his ugly head…..
The tone of your message sort of indicated to me that this will be “your” money. Even though you will be married. And I get that it IS your money. But you’re married. Now, I don’t have any clue how much money we are talking about…. .and for the sake of what I’m talking about I guess it doesn’t matter. I guess I would caution you that when you are talking to your Fiance about this…. you aren’t thinking that because it’s YOUR money…. that then you get to dictate what it’s used for in the marriage, regardless of how Fiance feels. For example I can easily see this happening….
Fiance likes a house in your price range. You like it, but you don’t love it. You keep looking. You find a house NOT in your price range that *you* absolutely adore. Fi says we can’t afford it. Yes, we can…. you say. I have money. We can just have a bigger downpayment and make up the difference, so it’s the same price as the other house, you say. Or, says Fi… we could do a bigger down payment on the hosue we both “like” and keep it well within our budget. But it’s MY money…. you say……… See where I’m going?
Now, I don’t know you…. you may NEVER say anything remotely like this. But I see how that COULD be the mentality when you aren’t *sharing* everything. So, something just to be cautious of as you make decisions with what amount you will share and how you will make decisions about how you spend that money.
I might encourage you to put whatever amount of money you decide… just into the “family pot” so to speak. Maybe it doesn’t go into checking or savings…. maybe you buy a CD or savings bond or whatever. But then it’s the same kind of money as if someone walked up and handed you an envelope with “Mr & Mr exactly equal” written on it.
Then, the rest of it you have in your name in a trust or account or whatever. That’s your nest egg or rainy day fund or whatever.
Post # 13
What Natalieh86 said is pretty accurate in community property states like Texas. Not every state is a CP state, though, so you should check. Your state’s family code will probably govern how marital property is characterized, and you can probably find your family code online.
Three things I want to put on your radar:
1. You have to pay attention to your state’s laws about income earned from this money. Your state might classify the inheritance as your separate property, but may then consider any earned interest, profits, etc. as property your husband owns with you. So, don’t overlook that when you are figuring out how to handle the money now and in the future.
2. If you are going to do a prenup or any type of marital property agreement, make sure you go to a family attorney that really knows how to do this properly. Your state probably has requirements that must be followed for these types of agreements to be enforceable, and you will want to make sure you meet those requirements.
3. A prenup won’t necessarily work for everything. In Texas, there are some things that are enforceable when agreed to in a prenup. But then there are other things that are only enforceable if they are agreed to after a couple is actually married. So, again, just be aware that this might apply in your state to whatever agreement you are trying to create.
Post # 14
The tone of your message sort of indicated to me that this will be “your” money. Even though you will be married. And I get that it IS your money. But you’re married.
Post # 15
@3xaCharm: I totally agree with this.
When I was with my ex, he was in a very bad accident (we had been married 2 and a half years) and we received a court settlement. I say we because the fact that I looked after him for years after and supported us was factored into the settlement. However, he (and his family encouraged) had a different point of view that whatever input I had meant nothing. He was also extremely financially irresponsible. I managed to keep most of it invested until we bought a house. After we split I found out that was marital money however inheritances were not UNLESS that money was put into a marital home (the couple has to actually live there).
That being said every place is different so be sure to call a lawyer and ask some questions prior to making any decisions.
Post # 16
@PGsHotBride: Good advice.
OP- First off, I’m sorry about the loss of your father.
I’d definitely see an attorney about this prior to marriage. The amount can have tax implicatoins if not properly invested/set aside, and the income, etc may be considered joint property (vs your separate property).
And yes, it is your money. I know that marraige = ours, but this is for you. I wouldn’t personally use it over your SO’s head like the house purchase example, etc, but if it is brought up, I’d address it as your father’s money for you and that will go to your kids later if you hope to pass it along. A rainy-day, worst-case-scenario fund is *smart* to have, just be prudent and graceful about it.