How Assets Get Divided in a Divorce

When a person designates estate beneficiaries, it’s a very intentional move. Creating a will for the purpose of distributing assets and property is all about creating a legacy. For many people, this means providing for loved ones after passing away.

What Determines How an Asset is Divided?

Given the value — sentimental or financial — of inherited property, divorcing individuals might wonder exactly how their status as a beneficiary will be impacted during property division. The key to this important concern can be found in state law.

Arizona is a community property state, which has a significant bearing on how inherited assets and property are distributed in the divorce. On a very basic level, this property division scheme treats inherited assets as separate property, regardless of whether the assets were passed on before or during the marriage. This means that the spouse who inherited the assets or property will retain them after divorce.

Given that a person might inherit a significant share of assets or a tract of family land that has high sentimental value, the designation made by state law is critical. Keeping this in mind, individuals will want to make sure that their separate property is protected during divorce.

Prenuptial Agreements

It’s worth noting that inherited assets could be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. If this is the case, then these assets could be treated in a way that is different than what’s prescribed by state law.

Having a clear idea of who is entitled to critical assets after divorce can prevent a lot of confusion and animosity. Not only that, but understanding how the law addresses inherited property can provide reassurance about future economic security.

Source:, “Inheritance Law and Your Rights,” accessed July 1, 2014