ARTICLE: Understanding Prenuptial Agreements and How to Add One to Your Estate Planning

Understanding Prenuptial Agreements and How to Add One to Your Estate Planning

Do you think that prenuptial agreements are only for the very wealthy or merely a plot point in movies about dynastic families with multiple properties? The truth is that pre-nuptial agreements can be helpful in many different situations, specifically if you may be getting married again after being widowed or divorced. A prenuptial agreement can help ensure that any children you or your partner have from a prior marriage may be treated fairly and inherit what they should, while also providing for your new spouse. 

If you are widowed or divorced, a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that the standard rules do not apply to your unique situation. If you are widowed, it may be likely that your former spouse left everything to you upon his or her death, expecting that your shared children would inherit anything left when you eventually pass away. Unfortunately, when you remarry without a prenuptial agreement, the default in most states may be that your new spouse would inherit everything you have when you pass away, leaving your children without their rightful inheritance from their two biological parents. A prenuptial agreement may be a way to ensure that this does not happen, by explicitly dividing any assets you had before your new marriage and setting them aside for your children and making fair provision for any assets or earnings accumulated during your new marriage. 

In some circumstances a prenuptial agreement can also protect your new spouse. For example, your new spouse might move into a home you owned with your former spouse which may be already set to be inherited by your children when you pass away. You can state in a prenuptial agreement that your new spouse is entitled to live in the home until he or she passes away if that occurs after you do, so he or she is not turned out of his or her home.

It can be important to try and ensure that your prenuptial agreement and your estate plan align with one another so that there are no inconsistencies to cause problems down the line. For assistance with incorporating a prenuptial agreement into your estate plan, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. 

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.