Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement to Protect My Estate?

February 3, 2021

A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a written contract that protects a person’s estate in the event of a divorce. A prenup is also used for other reasons as well, but the main goal is to safeguard a person’s assets. Prenuptial agreements are drawn up and signed before people get married. A prenup generally includes all the property that each person owns, any debts, and what the property rights will be if the marriage ends.

What are the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement?

It can be difficult for an engaged couple to discuss a prenuptial agreement because they might feel that doing so implies that the marriage will not last. However, the benefits are important. Talking about it sooner than later can build strong marital foundations; money problems are one main cause of separation and divorce.

Prenuptial agreements can also prevent money and property disputes that could arise during the marriage. Having everything in writing makes any gray areas clear; the spouses have definitive information that leaves little room for doubt. By listing the assets and specifying which are shared and separate property, the individual estates are more protected.

What Do Spouses Get Prenups?

A properly designed prenuptial agreement can clarify financial rights for couples, even if there is little money or no children involved. In addition to establishing how the property will be divided, a prenup can include specifications about future alimony payments. Alimony is also subject to state laws, though. A prenup can also shield a divorced individual from becoming burdened with their former spouse’s debt.

A prenup is also a good idea for an engaged couple who have children from prior relationships. The agreement can detail where the property will go when one passes away. Otherwise, a surviving spouse could be able to get a large portion of the deceased spouse’s property, meaning that the children could walk away with little or nothing.

What Could Happen if a Couple Does Not Have a Prenup?

In addition to the possibility of one spouse inheriting assets that the other spouse intended for their children, protecting assets and avoiding arguments, a prenup can save a family business. Without one, a spouse who owned a business before the marriage could end up in a situation where their former spouse wants to sell the business. A prenuptial agreement is also recommended when one person has an inheritance that needs to be protected, if one has more debt than the other, if one is going to be a stay-at-home parent, or if one is significantly wealthier.

The price of a prenuptial agreements varies, depending on the location, how many assets are involved, and other factors.  Although some couples consider doing it themselves, it is a good idea to work with a seasoned lawyer who is familiar with local laws and how the contract needs to be written. To save time, the couple can sit down and draft an initial agreement that includes all the points they need covered. This can be an excellent starting point for the final prenup.

Media Estate Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Work Hard to Protect Our Clients’ Assets

A prenuptial agreement is an optimal way to protect your estate, and it is well worth the effort. To learn more, contact a knowledgeable Media estate lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. today. For a free consultation, call us at 610-565-3701 or complete our online form. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.