Inherited Property-Refinanced


#1

Hi,

I inherited my grandmother’s home in 1998, with a mortgage balance of $10,000 during my 15 yr marriage. In 2000, my spouse and I borrowed $80,000 against the equity of home. My spouse’s name was placed on the “Deed of Trust” at that time. With the monies, we did home improvements, paid off inherited mortgage, vehicles, credit cards and spent freely. The current tax value of the house is $195,000.

My fear is that this is considered a gift to the marital estate and now has become martial property.

Is this considered “Marital Property” or “Separate Property”?

Thank you for you help.
Jennifer


#2

Unfortunately, it is possible that he could claim that this home is now marital property because you gifted it to the marriage. By adding him to the deed, it will make his case stronger. Some of the money you took out from the HELOC was used for marital debt too. You could still try seeking an unequal distribution in your favor for this house however, based on the fact that a significant portion of the home equity was not used on the marriage. It would then be up to the judge to decide ultimately. I don’t think that you would be able to claim the house as 100% separate property however, unless he consented to this.