Ask Terry Questions Divorcing, inheritance, buying a home?

Divorcing, inheritance, buying a home?

By Terry Savage on April 06, 2014 |

Terry, my father recently passed away and left me a small inheritance (about $22,000 total), which I will not receive until his small house is sold. I am also planning on divorcing my husband of 25 years because he will not give up his addictions .. cocaine, pain pills and gambling. He has blown through about $165,000 in the past 6 years from these addictions and my little inheritance will be my only hope for retirement. Part of my Dad’s money is in CD’s at Edward Jones Investments. I am also planning to move and will need money for a down payment on a home. In your opinion, should I leave the money at Edward Jones Investments and add to it once the estate is settled? Also, what do you think of a real estate down payment (first time home buyer) at the age of 58. Thanks for your help.

Terry Says:  I think you need some good personal legal advice, but let me outline the issues.  You MUST keep the money you inherit from your father, or the sale of the house you inherited, in a SEPARATE ACCOUNT until after your divorce is finalized.  An inheritance is not marital property, and you don’t want to make the mistake of combining it with money you have saved, which could be considered marital property, and thus subject to division with your spouse!  CDs at Edward Jones seem a good place, as long as it is a new, separate account you opened with the inheritance.

Next, before making any plans to buy a house, you need to figure out where you will stand after the divorce.  Will you be receiving maintenance (it is taxable)?  Will you have to PAY maintenance to your ex?  How much money will you be left with — either in retirement savings or other cash, once your divorce is finalized?  Only then can you make plans for the future.  So please do write back when you have a better idea of your future finances.

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