Can I Keep My $150K Inheritance Secret From My Kids’ Dad?


Dear Penny,

I have inherited $150,000 from my father. What can I do with the money so that my children’s father will not know about it ever? Also, what is the best thing to do to make a safe profit with the inherited money?

My children’s father is totally an uncontrollable spender. I really believe it’s a serious illness he’s always had, along with many mental disorders. He is a 100% disabled veteran. What should I do right now?


Dear K.,

Suppose your kids’ father would somehow learn of your inheritance. It really wouldn’t matter because he wouldn’t be entitled to it. Even when two people are married, inheritances and gifts belong solely to the inheriting spouse. The scenario is that your ex finds out about your $150,000 windfall, asks you for money and you refuse to give it to him. (The one exception here would be if you owed him child support, in which case the state’s child support agency could go after you for the money.)

Depending on how your father left you this money, your inheritance may be a matter of public record. If he left you money in his will, your children’s father could find out about your inheritance if he requested probate court records for your father’s estate. If you received this money through a trust or you were the beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy, this information would generally be confidential.

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