Prenuptial agreements date back over 2,000 years to the time of Ancient Egypt and yet that doesn’t mean they’ve always been popular. Often the idea of taking precautions against a possible future divorce is viewed as unromantic, even pessimistic, despite there being nothing more practical than ensuring the assets you bring to a marriage remain yours no matter what happens. When most people think of estate planning, they think of trusts and wills, and yet prenuptial agreements are just as vital a tool for protecting your life’s work—especially if yours is a modern family with all the attending complications.
Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?
Like trusts and wills, prenuptial agreements are made for everyone, not just the rich and famous. Everybody benefits from protecting their assets. This said, just as a trust may be of particular interest to parents of a child with special needs, a prenuptial agreement is particularly important to people who meet a certain description.
If any of the following apply, you’d be wise to consider a prenup:
- You and your future spouse are both financially secure and have independent assets.
- You or your future spouse is especially wealthy.
- Either one or both of you are remarrying and has children from a previous union.
- You wish to ensure your assets end up with children from an earlier marriage.
- You or your future spouse carries substantial debt.
- A significant age difference exists between you and your future spouse.
Prenuptial Agreements Are Not Just About Divorce
While it may be true that a prenuptial agreement addresses how you and your spouse will split your assets should your marriage end, the importance of the documents extends beyond just cases of divorce. Even couples who remain happily married for a lifetime see their marriage end when one or the other passes away and here, too, having a prenuptial agreement is valuable.
Laws exist in most states to protect spouses from disinheritance. Unless you’ve worked carefully with an experienced estate planning attorney, legislation will override any attempt you might make at writing your spouse out of your will. Spouses are legally entitled to aspects of your estate and so should you wish to circumvent this, you need to work thoughtfully with select legal tools.
A prenuptial agreement is one mechanism for, say, ensuring your life’s work ends up with your children and not your spouse, despite what the law may dictate. What’s more, preparing a prenuptial agreement can be a powerful (if not at times uncomfortable) exercise for your family in preventing conflict from arising after you’re gone. While talking isn’t always easy, it invariably easier than not doing so.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at Deliberato Law Center
To learn more about protecting your life’s work and loved ones by using a prenuptial agreement, do not hesitate to reach out to the Deliberato Law Center today, either by calling us at (216) 341-3413 or using the contact form on our website.