Texas is a community property state, meaning all property and earnings acquired during a marriage are equally owned by both spouses. If a divorce occurs, all assets will be divided between the two spouses as per equity decided by a judge unless a prior plan, such as a prenuptial agreement, is in place.
There are a few exceptions to what is considered community property in Texas, including inheritance. Inheritance is not considered community property. It is the separate property of the spouse who received it. However, if the inheritance becomes commingled with community assets during a marriage, it can become community property. To protect your inheritance in the event of a divorce, it is important to ensure that it remains separate from other assets throughout the marriage.
Complications That Arise From Commingling Assets
Once separate and community properties are commingled, or mixed, it can become impossible to distinguish the difference between the two. The presumption at law is that all assets are community property. To claim that an asset belongs to only one spouse in a divorce, the property must be proven to be separate under the strictest standards. This requires extensive tracing back to the origin of the asset. The longer the marriage lasts, the more complex the commingling becomes, and the more difficult it is to prove that the property is separate.
Keep Inheritance Separate From Other Property
The best way to handle your inheritance is to keep it completely separate and isolated from other assets. Once the inheritance is received, it should be put in its own account and not mixed with other property. This will prevent the inheritance from unintentionally becoming community property.
If you are getting divorced and your inheritance has been commingled with other assets, you will need to hire an attorney with extensive experience in property tracing to help trace the inheritance back to its origin. An attorney will prove to a judge, by the strictest legal standards, that the inheritance is your separate property.