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Addressing an inherited business during property division

Dividing marital wealth is one of the most central parts of any Texas divorce. When a spouse has inherited a business, understanding how those assets will be handled during property division is a concern for both parties. Businesses that are inherited fall under different rules than those that are built from the ground up, and understanding those differences is critical to reaching a fair division of wealth.

One of the most important places to begin is by examining any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that are in place. In many cases, marital contracts will clearly outline how business assets would be addressed in the event of a divorce. Issues related to inheritance are also commonly included in a prenup or postnup. If there is no marital contract at play, then a portion of the value of the business will usually be subject to division.

The next step is to determine the value of the business at the time it was passed down. Often, a valuation was done at that time, either for tax or insurance purposes, if not both. It may be necessary to look through old documents in order to find this information. Next, a current valuation should be done. The increase in value between the time of inheritance and the time of separation is most often what will be divided during a divorce.

Each and every business is different, just as each property division process is unique. For most Texas couples, determining how to divide marital wealth involves a careful review of many different documents. Having a comprehensive understanding of state law in relation to the division of marital wealth is also essential to a fair outcome.  

Source: thelegalintelligencer.com, "Gifted and Inherited Business Interests in Divorce", Terry Silver, Dec. 29, 2016

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