With wedding season upon us, it’s easy and fun to get caught up in all of our loved ones’ true love. Wedding after wedding, we watch numerous couples dance down the aisle on their way to forever. Everything seems all wedding cake and butterflies in the moment, but then life happens. From Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to all eight of Elizabeth Taylor’s marriages, we see crumbled relationships every day. But we never think or prepare for that day to arrive for ourselves.
For years, there has been a stigma surrounding the “ideal” marriage that forces people to believe sharing everything – even bank accounts – is the only “right” way to be married. But the times, they’re a changin’, and marriage looks different for everyone nowadays. Divorce does too, with more people in their 50s and 60s getting divorced (called “silver splitters”) than ever before.
Regardless of whether you’re on your first marriage or fourth, a prenuptial agreement (or prenup) may be something you want to consider. While prenuptial agreements are typically looked upon as cold precursors to problems down the road, it can actually be a liberating decision for the couple. They can focus on their relationship and not worry about what would happen if they split, in which case they would both maintain their individual financial responsibilities and freedom, and the separation has the potential to be much more amicable.
Protecting Your Love with a Prenup
I understand that some people feel very strongly about prenups and how they feel it speaks to their relationship – they don’t support the concept and will never sign one, which is perfectly fine. Every person and couple is different and should not be compared with one another. However, there are some benefits to having a prenup that should at least be considered, especially when there are children from a previous marriage or you are going into a relationship where there is a significant disparity between the couple’s financial circumstances.
For the Re-Married:
Second, third, or fourth marriages can get complicated, especially if there are children in the mix. Together with a Trust, a prenup can protect children from previous marriages from losing their inheritance to a new spouse. A spouse has certain legal rights simply by virtue of being a spouse, such as the priority for appointment as personal representative, the right to certain allowances, and the right to a certain minimum amount of your assets. However, the parties can choose to waive some or all of these rights in favor of their respective children.
Both a prenup and an estate plan are critical estate planning tools that work together to outline your wishes. Prenups can protect most assets regardless of individual state probate laws. Without a prenup and estate plan, your children from your prior marriage may not have priority as beneficiaries of your estate.
For The or Soon-to-Be Newly Weds
Congratulations! As you look forward to your married future, look to your current financial situation, and anticipate that future as well. Do you expect to inherit a significant amount of money or expensive asset? Thinking of selling your business? If you have a large estate now or anticipate having one and are getting married in the near future, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement.
A Smart Decision for Everyone: Update Your Estate!
Whether you’re opting for the prenup or just securing your assets in a Trust, it’s critical to continuously update your estate plan. Changes in your life can require changes to your estate plan. It is important to review and update your estate plan if you get divorced, and even more important to do so if you re-marry. In either of these situations, it is critical that your estate plan reflects these changes in your life, especially if you are planning on having a prenup.
Consider this: Your current spouse, while still grieving your loss, finds out that your prior wife has just inherited your retirement account. It has happened on more than one occasion. You don’t want to be that person. Call us today – we can make sure everything you have goes exactly where you want it to.
Prenups and Probate – We Do Both!
Whether you need the protection with a prenup or simply need to update your estate plan, we can help! Contact us at 248.399.3300 or Info@TheProbatePro.com for a free consultation to explore your options.