If an inheritance or large gift has already been received during the relationship, then it will normally form part of the matrimonial asset pool, although the recipient will usually receive an adjustment for this contribution.
The extent that the funds have been co-mingled with joint funds or assets (for example, renovations to the family home, deposit into joint savings account, payment of mortgage) will also be examined when arguing whether a portion of the funds should be quarantined and the level of entitlement the other party has to the funds. The Court would also consider when the inheritance was received in the relationship and the length of the relationship when determining the amount of weight to be placed on the receiving party’s contribution.
In contrast future inheritances that have not yet been received, will generally not be subject to division under divorce related property settlements, but may be considered a future resource affecting your future financial needs. As with many legal aspects the way inheritance is dealt with is dependent to the individual circumstances of the parties. If you need advice regarding inheritance, please contact our experienced family lawyers at Nevett Ford Lawyers on (03) 9614 7111.