Whether or not to have a Prenuptial Agreement, commonly called a Prenup, is an individual decision. Sometimes people tell me their parents have asked them to have one prepared because they will be receiving a sizable inheritance one day and want it to be protected. What is clear is that a Prenuptial Agreement is not just for wealthy people or people with children from a previous marriage who are marrying again. It is commonly being used by young people getting married for the first time. If your marriage does end, having a Prenuptial Agreement will help to reduce the emotional and financial strain of a divorce.
There are many reasons why you may want to have a Prenuptial Agreement.
- You may own a house or condo, a retirement account, a stock portfolio, or part of a business, or own a rental property and want to protect it. You may be the beneficiary of a trust set up for you by your family.
- You may be receiving an inheritance in the future or part of a family owned business and want to be sure that it will remain your separate property.
- You may be helping pay for schooling for your future spouse and want to be certain you are not responsible for student loan debt if the marriage does not work out.
- You may have children from a previous marriage and want to be sure they are protected.
There are many other reasons you may want to consider a Prenuptial Agreement.
Talking about a Prenuptial Agreement with your fiance can be difficult. However, it is important to remember that marriage is not just an emotional union but it is also a financial merger, so to speak. If you approach the subject honestly, both of you will see that an agreement that sets things out clearly can actually smooth your transition from your individual financial lives to a joint financial life.
A Prenuptial Agreement should be discussed with an attorney who has experience preparing this type of document. It is important that it be drafted clearly and that it contain all the agreements you and your fiance have discussed.
The first step in preparing such a document is to make a list of your assets and debts. The most important part of a Prenuptial Agreement is an honest financial disclosure — both of you must fully disclose what you own, what you may become entitled to in the future, and what debts you may have.
It is important to understand what is included in a Prenuptial Agreement and to begin the process with a family law attorney well in advance of your planned wedding date. This will ensure that both you and your fiance have a chance to discuss the terms of the Agreement without feeling pressured by a wedding date that is approaching quickly.