Sure, you have heard the term pre-nuptial agreement and it usually applies to the rich and famous … but do you really know what it is? Basically, it’s a financial agreement between a couple prior to being married that protects assets should the marriage not work. However, they are not just for celebrities and could be a valuable tool for average, hard-working Americans.
In a perfect world – even though the process should be non-confrontational – each party should have their own attorney. This is important because if the marriage ends and the documents are reviewed by the court, the party that signed away rights was not at a disadvantage by not having competent counsel with full disclosure.
Once attorneys are hired, there should be complete financial disclosure between the soon-to-be husband and wife. Should one of the parties not provide full disclosure of assets, there could be grounds to have the agreement invalidated.
Pre-Nuptial Agreements may also be utilized to supplement asset protection planning. For example, it can mandate separate accounts and assets for the husband and wife. In addition, it may also call for tax returns to be filled separately in the event of a suit or claim.
They can also establish procedures to supplement your asset protection planning as well as provide protection should one spouse have a chance of incurring malpractice or liability claims stemming from their job.
Once the agreement is signed, both parties should update their wills and other important documents to ensure they are in line with the agreed upon terms.
Just because the agreement was received before the wedding, you can still make changes after the ceremony. Your attorney will have to amend the original pre-nuptial agreement and each party will have to update their estate planning documents. You may also draft and sign a post-nuptial agreement that would essentially be the same as signing it before being married.
These are just the basics of pre-nuptial and the process can get a little confusing. If you are considering a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, it would be in your best interest to hire an attorney. The lawyers at The Edmunds Law Firm are experts in family law and are always available to help. Just fill out the contact form on our website or call us toll free at (760) 634-7630.