Inheritances and Family Law

How are inheritances treated in a division of assets on the breakdown of a relationship?

Example:  Jack and Jane lived together for 20 years.  They had no children.  During their relationship they both earned about the same income.  Ten years prior to separation Jane received an inheritance of $200,000.  At that time they owned a home which they sold and with the $500,000 proceeds of sale and Jane’s inheritance they purchased another property to live in.   Jack carried out renovations on the new home.  At separation the home was their only asset, valued at $1million.

Jane only offered Jack 30% of the proceeds of sale because of her $200,000 contribution. After seeking legal advice from us Jack received 47% of the proceeds of sale due to the following factors:

  • The inheritance had been received 10 years before separation;
  • The size of the inheritance and the ultimate value of the home;
  • The inheritance was used towards the purchase of another home and Jack had performed work on it.

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