The attorneys of Purple Law Firm recognize the delicate nature of the issues involved in a prenuptial agreement. There are many misconceptions about a prenuptial agreement. And the purposes for entering into such a written contract with your soon to be spouse. A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before marriage. It specifies in writing the intentions of the engaged couple. The individual property of each person after marriage. And the conditions relating to joint or marital property. A prenuptial agreement also dictates the rights of each spouse in the event of divorce or death.
Why Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
People are often wary of prenuptial agreements. Many believe the only reason to enter such a contract is in the event of divorce. No one wants to enter into marriage thinking that it will end in divorce. From a spiritual and emotional standpoint marriage is a most sacred union. From a legal standpoint marriage is a covenant or a contract. You have an offer – marriage proposal, and an acceptance of the proposal. Then the parties pledge to remain together for life. Oral or written, this is a contract. Ending the marriage by divorce is not the only purpose for a premarital contract. There are many other reasons as well. This includes estate planning.
Formalize Premarital Agreements into a Written Contract
Many couples not only agree to get married and how they want their wedding and honeymoon. But they also make agreements as to financial arrangements and estate issues. (Especially if this is a second or subsequent marriage). Think about it for a moment — two people planning to spend their lives together discuss many issues. They reach multiple agreements about a wide variety of issues. Unfortunately, most of the time these agreements are only oral, not written. They are often kept strictly between the husband and wife. No witnesses. But, what happens in the event of death of one or both spouses? You have each agreed that the estates are separate. But do your children or other relatives know this? Maybe your marriage does ends by means other than death? Will the promises you made when you got engaged be remembered? Enforced? Speak to a family law estate attorney about this issue. And ask how a prenuptial or premarital agreement helps you.
Prenuptial Agreements are Legally Enforceable Contracts
Maybe you had agreed before you got married how to divide the various properties. What is mine is mine, what is yours is yours, etc. A prenuptial agreement simply puts these agreements into a written contract. Now it is legally enforceable. In the event of death the probate court upholds the provisions of the prenuptial agreement. Or if you have done complete estate planning, the Trustee of your Trust or Trusts is bound to its provisions as well. A well written attorney prepared prenuptial or ante nuptial (after marriage) agreement incorporates all of your oral agreements and promises to each other into a written contract. It would simplify resolution of estates upon death. Or in the unlikely event of marital dissolution by other than death- such as divorce.
Complete Estate Planning with a Living Trust and Prenuptial Agreement
One of the best ways to ensure that separate estates remain separate in a subsequent marriage is to have both a living revocable trust and a prenuptial agreement. First, the prenuptial agreement specifies and reinforces the agreement between spouses that their estates shall remain separate. In addition, the revocable trust allows for the management and distribution of assets upon death. The trust agreement may also be utilized to provide special benefits to a surviving spouse. For instance, you want to allow your surviving spouse to remain in the home until death then sell the home and distribute the proceeds to your children. Ultimately, this can be accomplished through the use of both a prenuptial agreement and a revocable trust agreement. Because, there are many possibilities and benefits in estate planning, consult with an estate attorney about your goals.
Jim Purple and Purple Law Firm have been planning estates and writing prenuptial agreements since 1982. If you live in the Chattanooga, Hamilton County Tennessee area contact Purple Law Firm about a prenuptial agreement.