Planning for a wedding is a happy and exciting time for an engaged couple. They have many decisions to make: the guest list, the wedding gown, the venue, the food and flowers, etc. Life is full of decisions.
There is one other decision the couple should be making: whether or not to get a prenuptial agreement or “Prenup.”
The Prenup is used to determine how property acquired both before the marriage and during it will be distributed upon the death of either spouse or in the event of divorce. These agreements are frequently used when the spouses, or one of them has acquired property prior to the marriage that they want it passed on to their heirs and not to their new spouse upon their death. A spouse may want to make sure that their children from a previous marriage will inherit their entire estate. They can also make provisions that property acquired during the marriage be passed to their heirs under certain circumstances. Otherwise, the new spouse has the opportunity to take advantage of a law that permits a spouse who is not provided for in their spouse’s will to inherit a portion of the estate despite what the will says. This is also the case when a spouse dies intestate, meaning that there is no will. Without a Prenup the intended heirs may not be protected.
Prenups are also used to determine how property and support issues will be determined if there is a divorce. While no one enters into a marriage anticipating that it will end in divorce, this does happen. In order to protect each spouse’s interests and make the divorce as smooth and amicable as possible couples choose to make these decisions in a time of calm and rational thinking before the wedding.
Prenuptial agreements are an important part of planning a marriage. If the intended spouses have accumulated property or when there is a large disparity in the property or earning power of one, this is a step that should not be skipped.