Family Lore Clinic: Husband has inherited is a wife entitled to it?

Inheritances are assets that will be taken into account in any divorce settlement. There are no hard and fast rules as to how they should be dealt with, and certainly no rule that one party is entitled to a share of an inheritance received by the other party.

How the inheritance should be dealt with depends upon the circumstances of that particular case. For example, if the needs of the parties and any children can only be met by using the inheritance, then it is likely that it will simply go into the 'pot' for division between the parties (the 'pot' will be divided in accordance with the needs of each party).

If, however, those needs can be met from other assets, then the party who received the inheritance may be able to argue that they should keep it. Whether they are successful in arguing this would depend upon such things as when the inheritance was received (the more recent, the more likely the argument will succeed), whether it has been spent and, if so, what it was spent on (it may, for example, no longer be possible to identify the inheritance, as it has become 'mixed up' in other assets).

Obviously, the above is only a very brief overview of what can be a complex subject. If you would like more detailed or specific advice then, as always, you should consult a specialist family lawyer.


  1. Of course if the testator has time to redirect the legacy to the children - then the wife gets nothing.

    In a reformed law there is much to be said for excluding inheritances from the pot. People generally want to benefit their children, not the people whom they have married.


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