Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pre-nups Have a Place in Estate Plans

There are a variety of good reasons to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, also referred to as an ante-nuptial agreement, with your soon-to-be spouse and not all of them include divorce. A more important, and hopefully likely, scenario is that you will be happily married until one of you passes away. However, without proper planning, property could pass in a way that neither you nor your soon-to-be spouse intend.

For example, if you have family farm property, normally your interest will go to your spouse upon your death. If your spouse gets remarried and fails to properly plan, their new spouse may get an interest in your family’s property. Additionally, even if you specifically give property to someone other than your spouse in your will, there are statutory rights for the spouse that can only be waived through an ante-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. This can especially become a concern if you have children from a prior relationship.

If you have family farm land or this will be a second marriage, a pre-nuptial can be a valuable addition to your estate planning documents. If you think a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial might be right for your circumstances, contact a licensed attorney in your state.