Prenuptial agreements are commonly associated with Hollywood divorces. But this is not restricted to them. Any couple who has personal and business assets to bring to the marriage can benefit from a prenup. Think of a marital union as a business partnership where you have to protect each spouse’s financial interests in case anything happens that severes the union.
When you’re engaged and drunk on love, you might be tempted to think that love will take care of you. But the reality is, a handful of marrigaes turn sour. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of a prenup before you decide to have one drawn up.
- Protects individual property. This is important if each spouse’s assets are not balanced. If you have a business or a private practice, signing a prenuptial agreement can prtect your assets from being divided should your marriage end in divorce. It also limits your former spouse’s involvement and control over your assets.
- Identifies what property is considered marital and what is communal, it also sets the proportion and distribution.
- Organizes the legal aspect in the case of divorce or if death occurs. Plans to take care of the living spouse should be made.
- Prepares the foundations for estate planning, whether you intend to have children and grandchildren or not.
- Layouts which spouse manages what (business, investments, banking relationships). It details how responsibilities are shared and how decisions are mde.
- Provides full disclosure of income, assets, and debt. This is important especially if your partner has more debt. A premarital agreement will protect you from assuming your spouse’s financial obligations.
- If you have children and grandchildren from a former marriage, having a prenup protects their inheritance rights should you re-marry.
- It is not romantic. Signing a contract prior to marriage layouts the particulars of what will happen if the marriage ends which can pose a sense of lacking trust in your partner. It also implies that you view your union as something that can end.
- A spouse who contributes to the business or professional practice of the other spouse may not be able to claim a share in the increase of value should the marriage end. Although under the laws of many states, this is considered a divisible marital property.
- The agreement may require each other to give up the right to inherit from the spouse’s estate in the case of death. Under the law, the living spouse is entitled to a portion of the estate even if it is not indicated on the will.
- During the honeymoon phase, one spouse may agree to terms that are not in his or her best interest because they’re too in love to be bothered about the financial aspects of a marriage.
- Having a prenuptial agreement may require a change in lifestyle. Since it influences the distribution of assets, if the relationship ends, you will end up with less than what you originally have and may not be able to sustain your current lifestyle.
Premarital agreement is for everyone to consider. The first step is to assess the situation with your partner. If you think that you are not ready to sign a prenuptial agreement, there are various ways to keep your interests protected before, during and after your marriage. What’s important is you discuss this with your partner and agree on the best way that works for the both of you. While a lot of do-it-yourself premarital agreements abound, it is best to talk to your attorney at law so you know what your state laws has to say in protecting your assets.
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