Is Inheritance Community Property in Louisiana?

is inheritance community property

Louisiana has a number of unique community property laws that can affect how property is divided in a divorce, including property that one spouse has inherited from a third party during the marriage. In general, inheritance is protected from becoming community property. However, if there’s any revenue generated from that inheritance during the marriage, that revenue may become community property in the event of a divorce.

Understanding how community property works in Louisiana can be tricky. If you’re facing a divorce or have concerns about protecting your inheritance rights, you need experienced legal guidance to provide personalized advice and advocate for your interests. 

Shreveport property division attorney Michael J. Vergis can evaluate you and your spouse’s current financial situation and help ensure you are able to keep control over your personal property. With his experience in Louisiana’s community property laws, Attorney Vergis can provide the guidance and support you need to navigate the property division process with confidence.

Take the first step towards protecting your financial future–call (318) 698-3724 to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Vergis regarding your legal situation today. 

Is Inheritance Considered Community Property

What is Community Property?

In Louisiana law, community property refers to any assets or property acquired during a marriage that the spouses jointly own. This includes any income earned, real estate purchased, and debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of which spouse acquired them. 

For example, if a married couple buys a home together, but the house is only in one spouse’s name, the home is still community property because it was acquired during the marriage. This means that the other spouse would still have a legal right to the property in the event of a divorce. 

Community Property vs. Separate Property

In a marriage, individuals can have both separate and community property. Community property includes any assets acquired during the marriage, which both spouses have ownership over. On the other hand, separate property refers to assets owned by just one of the spouses. Assets acquired prior to the marriage are almost always considered separate property, as are assets like inheritance, gifts, or separate funds.

In the event of a divorce, community property is typically divided equally between the two spouses, while separate property is not. A spouse who owns any separate property in Louisiana will be able to retain full ownership of that property and will not have to split that property with the other spouse in a divorce.  

Community Property vs. Marital Property

Community property and marital property are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to assets acquired during marriage. In Louisiana, property owned by married people is classified as either separate or community property. Community property and marital property refer to the same kind of assets. 

Is Louisiana a Community Property State?

Yes, Louisiana is a community property state. This means that, in Louisiana, property acquired or possessed by a spouse during their marriage is presumed to be community property unless the spouse can prove that the property is separate. In the event of a divorce, community debts and assets are equally divided between the spouses.

inheritance laws in louisiana

Is Inheritance Considered Community Property?

No, inheritance is not considered community property in Louisiana. This means that if one spouse inherits assets, such as money, real estate, or other valuables during the marriage, those assets are generally not subject to equal division in the event of a divorce. 

However, if a person’s inheritance generates fruits (revenue) at any point during the marriage, those fruits may become community property and may be divided evenly between the two spouses. 

Louisiana Inheritance Laws

In Louisiana, inheritance owned by one spouse is assumed to be separate property. However, the fruits of that inheritance may be treated as community property unless those assets are reserved as separate property through a declaration. 

Under Louisiana law, the natural and civil fruits of any separate property are community property. Natural fruits are the products of the earth or animals, whereas civil fruits are the monetary rewards generated by an asset. 

For example, let’s say a married person inherits a vacation home from their loved one. The vacation home is now in that person’s name and is considered separate property. However, if they start renting out the vacation home to other people, any revenue generated from the home is considered part of the community property regime. 

A person can prevent the fruits of their inheritance from becoming community property through a declaration, which must be seen by the other spouse before it is filed. Otherwise, the fruits of the inheritance will be assumed to be community property and will be subject to community property laws in the event of a divorce.

is inheritance community property in Louisiana

Preserving Inherited Assets During Divorce

When you receive an inheritance from a deceased loved one, you’ll want to protect that inheritance from being divided up and taken away from you in a divorce. Luckily, there are many different ways to help preserve inherited assets from becoming community property in a divorce. 

  • Sign a Prenuptial Agreement or Postnuptial Agreement: Consider drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that clearly outlines how inherited assets are to be treated in the event of a divorce. This kind of agreement could state that inherited assets are to remain the spouse’s separate property and not be subject to division upon divorce.
  • Maintain Separate Accounts: Keep inherited assets separate from community assets by depositing them into a separate bank account or investment account in your name only. Avoid commingling inherited funds with a joint bank account or using them for joint expenses.
  • Document the Inheritance: Keep detailed records and documentation of the inheritance, including any wills, trusts, or estate documents that specify the assets received and their intended beneficiary.
  • Avoid Mixing Inherited Assets with Marital Assets: Refrain from using inherited funds to purchase marital property or make joint investments unless you’re comfortable with the possibility of those assets becoming subject to division in a divorce.
  • Set Up a Trust: Setting up a trust to hold inherited assets can provide an added layer of protection. A trust can specify how the assets are to be managed and distributed, potentially shielding them from being considered marital property. Trusts can also protect a person’s inheritance from being transferred to their surviving spouse, preserving the assets for their descendants instead.
  • Consult with a Legal Professional: Seek guidance from a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in family law and estate planning. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and help you navigate the complexities of protecting inherited assets in the event of a divorce.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help Protect Inherited Property

A Louisiana family law attorney can play a crucial role in helping you protect inherited property during a divorce. Firstly, they can provide knowledgeable guidance on the state’s community property rules and how they apply to inherited assets, ensuring you understand your rights and options. 

They can also assist in drafting prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that clearly outline the treatment of inherited property in the event of divorce, helping ensure these assets stay separate. 

Additionally, your attorney can advise on strategies to keep inherited assets separate from community property, like maintaining separate accounts and avoiding commingling of funds. In the event of a divorce, a family law attorney can advocate on your behalf to ensure that inherited assets are properly identified and protected. 

If you have concerns about how your inheritance will be treated in your divorce, Louisiana divorce attorney Michael J. Vergis is here to help. He can provide you with the guidance and legal support needed to protect your inheritance and preserve your rights throughout the divorce process, ensuring a fair and favorable outcome. 

is inheritance marital property in Louisiana

To Learn More, Schedule a Consultation With Shreveport-Bossier Property Division Lawyer Michael J. Vergis Today

Property division can be a complex part of any divorce proceeding. Not only that, but many separate and community assets can have emotional significance to both spouses, making the process even more difficult. If you are navigating a divorce and want to ensure your inheritance is protected from being divided in your divorce, Shreveport-Bossier City divorce lawyer Michael J. Vergis is here to help. 

With a deep understanding of Louisiana’s community property laws and extensive experience in handling property division cases, Attorney Vergis is committed to providing compassionate and effective legal representation to clients in Shreveport-Bossier and throughout Northwest Louisiana. 

Whether you’re concerned about safeguarding inherited assets or ensuring a fair distribution of marital property, Attorney Vergis will work tirelessly to protect your interests and advocate for your rights. Call (318) 698-3724 or contact us via our website to schedule a consultation with Attorney Michael J. Vergis today to discuss your case and explore your legal options.