My child is married, and I don’t trust my child’s spouse. In the event they divorce, how can the inheritance be kept separate?

According to California law, inheritances are the separate property of each spouse, and are not community property. Therefore, your child’s spouse has no rights to the inheritance. However, if your child does not reside in California, in many cases, the law of the state where your child lives will be controlling.

The way in which the child treats the inheritance can convert it from separate property to community property. For instance, the child may place the assets into a joint account, in which case, the assets may no longer be separate property. Thus, your child can keep the inheritance separate by not commingling the assets with any joint assets. There are certain kinds of living trusts that can help maintain the separate property status of the inheritance.

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