In contrast to what many people think, the best estate planning considers all
aspects of your life instead of only the end. The estate planning process requires thinking about what is important to you as well as your expectations for loved ones.
Prenuptial agreements, which a person enters into before marriage, guard those you love as well as create a groundwork for transparency and trust. While some people think prenuptial agreements “kill” the romance in a relationship, these agreements often actually act to strengthen. This article reviews some of the most common advantages for estates that people realize by creating prenuptial agreements.
# 1 – Marriage Is Partially a Business Arrangement
Discussing the possibility that your relationship might not last can be unromantic, which is why many people postpone talking about prenuptial agreements. If you push back conversations about a prenuptial agreement too much, you can end up making a serious error. While it’s romantic, marriage is also a type of formal arrangement. By speaking to your future spouse in advance about these serious issues, you can make sure that your future spouse agrees with you on important issues about your assets including how they will be divided after you pass away.
# 2 – Not Creating an Agreement Places Your Estate at Risk
Approaching the issue of a prenuptial agreement can seem more critical if you appreciate the risks presented to both of your estates if you fail to create one. In many states, any assets acquired during a marriage are viewed as marital assets that are divided by equitable distribution or what the court deems to be fair. Some other states view marital assets as community property, which means the assets are divided 50-50 if a couple divorces. Prenuptial agreements give you the ability to list what assets you feel are rightfully yours. If there are certain assets that you do not want to divide with your future spouse, you might consider listing these assets in your prenuptial agreement. This way you can preserve your assets and keep your estate mostly intact if your marriage does not last.
# 3 – Prenuptial Agreements Also Address Death
Prenuptial agreements also dictate the end of marriages by describing what happens to your assets after you pass away. New York (as well as New Jersey) has elective shares, which means that if one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse has a right to that other spouse’s assets. Without a prenuptial agreement, a spouse automatically receives this portion of the other spouse’s assets. If you have other goals for what should be done with these assets or your estate, prenuptial agreements can afford you the opportunity to do what you think is fair.