By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)
Q: I am in the process of getting divorced. Just prior to separation, my father passed away. Under the terms of his will, I am due to inherit half of his estate. My husband's solicitor is now asking for disclosure of what I am due to inherit under my late father's estate. I fail to see what relevance this has to the divorce proceedings. My father would not have wanted my soon-to-be ex-husband to benefit from his estate. Do I have to disclose this information, and furthermore, would my husband be entitled to a share?
A: I Suspect that as well as going through the formal process to end your marriage — i.e. divorce proceedings — that you are also in the process of attempting to resolve the financial aspect of the marriage.
As part of the financial side of divorce, there is a duty on both parties to give full disclosure of their finances and assets — and this includes details of any inheritance prospects.
Whether your husband is entitled to a share, depends on your personal circumstances.
On divorce, the starting point is that all the assets be divided equally. However, inheritance could be a reason to depart from this rule of thumb.
It obviously depends on the individual facts of the case. Some of the factors that would be taken into account would be the length of the marriage, value of your inheritance, children, your respective incomes, your ages and the value of your other assets.
You will have to disclose details of the money you are due to inherit. However, given the fact that you will be receiving it at the end of the marriage, as opposed to if it had been received at the beginning of the marriage, there will be strong argument that you should retain it. However, if it is the only asset then it may well be that your inheritance has to be shared.
If you have not done so already, I would advise you to consult with a matrimonial solicitor who will be able to fully advise you with the full facts of your case.
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