10 Reasons Why “Prenups” Make Sense

Prenuptial agreements (often called “prenups”) are not romantic and something none of us want to consider as we plan our trip down the aisle but they can protect you in the event of an untimely death or unforeseen dissolution of a marriage. As a planning tool, a prenup can protect your family business, your disabled child, your nest-egg or the intended recipients of an inheritance or a trust, often considerations unforeseen when a couple is in the early stage of their lives together. Each person’s situation will differ and, consequently, for advice that will apply to your situation you should consult with a lawyer. In short, here are the top 10 reasons you should consider a prenup:

1. To protect children, grandchildren, parents or other dependents and loved ones in the event of death or divorce.

2. Disputes over money can greatly strain a marriage. A prenup can define how each spouse will manage his or her separate finances during the marriage and estab lish how joint investments, expenses, debts and other obligations will be han dled. With or without a legal document, all couplesshould discuss financial man agement well in advance of the wedding.

3. To provide an expedient resolution upon death or divorce. A well-drafted prenup can save years of divorce and probate litigation and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

4. To protect a closely-held or family business or piece of investment property from intrusion, disputes or dissolution upon death or divorce. Absent a valid agreement to the contrary, marital property is defined as all property belonging to either spouse. However, a prenup may be used to legally segregate the family assets from marital property.

5. To ensure that, upon death, an estate is distributed according to the wishes of the deceased and not by statute.

6. To exclude a gift, trust, or inheritances from the definition of marital property and, therefore, from an undesired distribution or liquidation in the event of death or divorce.

7. To avoid an order requiring the sale of certain property to satisfy a divorce judgment. A family court can order the sale of any asset unless an agreed upon prenup forbids it.

8. To assist with Medicaid planning. If one spouse becomes ill and requires substantial medical care, a prenup may protect the other spouse’s assets.

9. To determine whether spousal support will be paid and, if so, define the sources of income to be considered for support purposes.

10. To protect substantial current or future wealth or to protect against current or future debt.

In summary, a well-intentioned and well-drafted prenup sets the financial ground rules for the marriage partnership, getting a bride and groom off to a good start as a smart and responsible couple.

By Attorneys Margaret R. Kerouac
and Jeanmarie Papelian of the
McLane Law Firm in Manchester.
603-625-6464 or www.mclane.com

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