"Prenuptial agreements are increasingly becoming an important part of estate planning."…"So should the recently engaged rush to sign a prenuptial agreement? Not necessarily."… [and then again]… "Even if you exchanged rings long ago, there's still time to set the financial terms of your marriage."
Summer is the official "I do" season as couples across the country exchange marriage vows. However, given the dismal marriage success rate, many of those exchanging nuptials (not to mention their respective parents) are also pondering their exit strategies in case things don't work out.
Single life can be complex on its own with its own hopes, debts, investments, family members, obligations, and health concerns. Marriage, on the other hand, can be a uniquely tricky institution. When you multiply single life by two in a manner legally recognized by IRS agents, insurers, and in-laws, then everything becomes compounded.
Estate planning can be a complex adventure, too, especially if you are blending families with children from a previous marriage. In addition, issues regarding family inheritance, family businesses, farm and ranches, can require careful navigation. Now that you have a special someone in your life worth keeping, it may be worth mitigating concerns early and intelligently through prenuptial agreement planning.
If you recoil, or simply want to know more, then a recent article in WealthManagement.com will be worth your time. The article is titled "Debunking the Pre-nup Myths," and, as the title promises, it may help you and your intended get a more accurate handle on the subject.
On the other hand, even if you are familiar with the world of prenups, The Wall Street Journal offers some practical premarital counseling of its own in an article titled "Easing the Sting of Divorce."
Finally, even if there's already a slice of wedding cake resting in the freezer and all is happy and well, there's the less frequently discussed option of the postnuptial agreement. This matter was taken up in another article by The Wall Street Journal titled "Spouses Turn to Postnups."
Ultimately, the relevance of any of these approaches varies depending upon your unique needs and objectives, along with those of your partner. This is not a do-it-yourself project. Be sure to engage appropriate independent legal counsel to represent your respective interests to avoid potential conflicts of interest and unnecessary litigation down the road.
Reference: WealthManagement.com (June 12, 2012) "Debunking Pre-nup Myths"
The Wall Street Journal (June 15, 2012) "Easing the Sting of Divorce"
The Wall Street Journal (June 16, 2012) "Spouses Turn to Postnups"