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WA Property Value at Time of Separation - Ex Received Inheritance

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Safety Rod, 5 September 2014.

  1. Safety Rod

    Safety Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    This site is a great resource, thanks to all the contributors for the help.

    On to my question, well set of questions, starting with this one:

    Situation: ex-wife father dies in the year before separation date, with notification that ex-wife will receive substantial portion of the estate (the husband was not named in the Will), including a house in another country (NZ) of considerable value, along with motor vehicles etc that can easily be liquidated for cash. The property in total was liquidated after separation by the ex-wife. The value of the assets were not fully or legally ascertained at the time of separation (as they were still part of the execution process of the Will). The husband was not notified or involved with any part of this process.
    1. What exactly, in WA, are identifiable as assets from an inheritance, that must be reported today, now almost 2 years after separation? I understand this is likely to be a question that cannot be answered specifically, but I need to ask anyway.
    2. Although the inheritance assets were known about before separation by both parties (by knowledge of the contents of the Will), and a general idea about their value known at the time by both parties, is their value still attributable to the marital estate, before any actual value is attributed by sale or receipt of proceeds? If not, why?
    3. Can the estate legally be liquidated by the ex-wife without the knowledge of the husband, whom may likely have some claim over that estate, and during which time there was a proper process of negotiation taking place? The negotiation process excluded all reference to the estate and any proceeds by the ex-wife.
    4. Could a lien/caveat have been placed over the property in the other country, if the details of that property were provide to the husband at that time?
    5. Can a person legally withhold information about assets from an inheritance, such as might be considered shared marital assets at the time, or any time in the future?
    6. Can a lien/caveat or Court Order be sought over the proceeds (a bank account balance) of the property proceeds NOW, in the possible event that part of that estate could be paid in the husbands favour at some stage in the future?
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Safety Rod,
    I am not a family law expert, however, I do know that inheritances and gifts left to one partner will still be counted in the "shared pool" of assets. Therefore, the ex partner may have an interest in the assets. However, I would double check with the Family Courts (or a family law lawyer) about whether or not a caveat is possible/advisable.

    A person should not withhold information about assets/interests that could possibly form part of the "shared pool" of assets.

    In relation to valuing assets, this is generally done at the time of assessment, not at the time of separation. This is because interests/capital gains may all form part of the "share pool" of assets. Have a look at the following LawAnswers Family Law Forum threads:
    - "Recent separation - Received inheritance"
    - "If you've inherited property and money, is your spouse entitled to any portion"
     
  3. Safety Rod

    Safety Rod Well-Known Member

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    Follow up answers to my own questions, as far as I have understood them:

    1. What exactly, in WA, are identifiable as assets from an inheritance, that must be reported today, now almost 2 years after separation? I understand this is likely to be a question that cannot be answered specifically, but I need to ask anyway.

      Everything must be reported.

    2. Although the inheritance assets were known about before separation by both parties (by knowledge of the contents of the Will), and a general idea about their value known at the time by both parties, is their value still attributable to the marital estate, before any actual value is attributed by sale or receipt of proceeds? If not, why?

      Yes it is.

    3. Can the estate legally be liquidated by the ex-wife without the knowledge of the husband, whom may likely have some claim over that estate, and during which time there was a proper process of negotiation taking place? The negotiation process excluded all reference to the estate and any proceeds by the ex-wife.

      It makes no difference, as the value of the assets will be taken into account by the court process.

    4. Could a lien/caveat have been placed over the property in the other country, if the details of that property were provide to the husband at that time?

      In short, yes it could.

    5. Can a person legally withhold information about assets from an inheritance, such as might be considered shared marital assets at the time, or any time in the future?

      In short, no they can't due to provisions of the Family Law Rules - full and frank disclosure.

    6. Can a lien/caveat or Court Order be sought over the proceeds (a bank account balance) of the property proceeds NOW, in the possible event that part of that estate could be paid in the husbands favour at some stage in the future?

      In short, yes it can be, but the court needs to be convinced that this is necessary to protect the interests of the parties.
    One learns a lot when representing self in these matters.
     
    Sarah J likes this.

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