Prenuptial Agreements

Potential clients often inquire about prenuptial agreements and why it may or may not be desirable or necessary to have one signed prior to getting married.

 

Prenuptial agreements are most often used to protect assets in the event of a divorce, but can also include a complete waiver or a cap on alimony, and can modify legal entitlement to assets in the event of death. 

 

A prenuptial agreement defines "separate" assets, which are those that are to be excluded from division by the parties in the event of a divorce. The definition of "separate" can be narrowly defined or broadly defined.  Separate assets can be limited to premarital, gifts or inherited assets. Or, separate assets can be defined to include any assets held by either party, regardless of whether the asset was accrued or obtained before the marriage or after.

 

Prenuptial agreements are popular among the “second marriage” crowd, particularly when the parties have accrued significant assets or have children from a previous union.  In such cases, a party may want to provide for his/her child(ren) in their estate planning and ensure that their assets go to their children as opposed to their new spouse. A prenuptial agreement can be a very effective way to do this. 

 

Prenuptial agreements can be as unique as the couples themselves. Life insurance, titling of current or future homes, retirement benefits and death benefits can all be addressed. 

 

It is recommended that both parties obtain independent counsel. One attorney cannot represent both parties in the negotiation and drafting of a prenuptial agreement. The agreement is premised on full disclosure and both parties must understand what they are signing. If you wish to learn more, or wish to have a prenuptial agreement drafted for you, please give us a call.