How to Handle Gifts To One Spouse?

The Pennsylvania Family Law Blog poses the very practical question- what do to with a gift or inheritance received during a marriage? How can one insure that a gift to an adult child does not end up marital property subject to the other spouse’s claims?

As the blog post points out,

Generally, marital property means all property acquired by either party during the marriage, regardless of whose name it is in. An exception arises for property acquired by gift (except between spouses), such as an inheritance.

In New York, the same rule applies. Provided the gift remains in the sole name of the recipient of the gift, it will remain  that spouse’s separate  property. If the gift is put in joint names, the other spouse could claim that it is marital property and subject to equitable distribution. The burden shifts to the recipient spouse to prove that the property is and was separate property

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