YOUR SPOUSE INHERITED MONEY. GUESS WHAT, IT’S NOT YOURS

If a relative or a friend chose to give your partner  money in their will and your name isn’t mentioned, it ain’t yours.

Couples, especially one side, love to say ‘we’ inherited money.  But that’s not how the  tax people see it, or the divorce lawyers, or the law. Money inherited is not up for grabs if you split.  That money belongs to your partner, period.

Here’s one way to  deal with this ‘happy’ situation. Say your partner inherits $10,000. They get to put it into whatever investment seems best to them. Your partner can discuss it with you, but it’s their decision. Resist bullying! You know, pouting, crying, glaring, withholding of affections.

Pretend the inheritance never happened. That’s as much influence as you should have.  Pretend a friend of yours won money in a lottery and wants to know what to do with it.  You can offer asked for advice, but that’s the extent of your ownership.

Once the money is safely invested, even if only for a week or two, even in a simple savings account, your partner gets to state their priorities in life.  If it’s travel,  they might gift you a trip.  If not, your part of the trip gets paid for with family funds.

Ah, you think you caught a snag.  Define family funds, please. Well, what did you do before the inheritance? Harry Brown, author of How To Be Free in an Unfree World, said family funds equate to  income earned by each member of  a couple, money paid for  household work, and bills and expenses paid in proportion to income. Any money left over belongs to the partner who earned it.  They get to do with it what they will, as long as it isn’t illegal or  harmful to either of you.

That  connects to the inheritance issue.  Since the bills and the  rest of your life are presently being paid for within your family income, the inheritance is  beside the point.  If your partner wants a house, or a bigger house, then they can use the money that way. If they want  to sock it away into RRSPs until they are old and gray, ditto.

If you married a generous person, you might get taken on a trip, have a gift waiting at unexpected times, or have an influx into jointly held investments. But, that is strictly up to the one who got the inheritance.

I don’t say it’s easy to know your partner has money you can’t touch. But, maybe that’s your spiritual lesson for the day.

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