This is a very well-established area of law and the answer will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter in consideration of the following: –
- When the inheritance was received – ie. During the relationship or post-separation.
- How were the funds/assets used?
- If the inheritance is to be received in the future, how does this impact that parties position to support themselves moving forward.
It is important to note that the Court’s position on inheritances is that if it cannot be excluded from a property settlement, then it will be considered when dividing property in what is ‘just, fair and equitable’ in the circumstances of the relationship.
The Court will consider the inheritance in light of the above points, however, the Court will also consider other contributions during the relationship, including financial contributions and contributions as homemaker and parent. These will not be overlooked merely because an inheritance was received. This has been confirmed in recent Court judgments where it was determined that the Court must look at a “myriad of contributions” made by the parties and weight them up against each other prior to determining a property settlement.
It is for this reason, that in order to legally protect your inheritance or future inheritance, that you receive specialised advice on your individual circumstances in the event of a separation or during your relationship. If such assistance and advice is required, please contact our office on (02) 4655 4224 to arrange an appointment to speak with one of our experienced solicitors.