Prenuptial Agreements and Estate Planning

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Aug 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

A romantic proposal, engagement, wedding planning, and the enticement of a long and happy future may not ring effortlessly with a discussion about divorce, death, or estate planning. Still, many couples realize that planning for their financial future requires a frank and honest discussion about division of property, especially when couples have children from a prior marriage or hold significant assets. Prenuptial agreements are not just about protecting assets in the event of divorce. The document can be a much more powerful tool to ensure that your assets are properly directed in the event of incapacitation or death.

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According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, prenuptial agreements are an increasingly common tool to assist both men and women with complex estate planning. Our Birminghamprenuptial agreement lawyer is committed to protecting our clients at every stage of their legal relationship. From negotiating and drafting prenuptial agreements through divorce and dispute resolution, we can effectively protect your rights and long-term financial interests.

Prenuptial agreements can be particularly effective for couples later in life, who have accumulated significant assets that they want to keep separate from their new spouse, or their new spouse's heirs. Many couples who have already divorced and are marrying for a second or third time should take financial planning seriously. In these cases, a new spouse may also be more open-minded to creating a prenuptial agreement.

When it comes to prenuptials and estate planning, most of the time individuals are seeking to hold on to assets that they accumulated before marriage. The contract will cover the protection of separate property rather than having it convert to marital property. Prenuptial agreements may also cover issues including how property will be divided and inheritance rights. In most cases, the prenuptial will protect property and assets for the children of a prior marriage. The agreement can prevent assets from being considered marital property and would be automatically passed on to heirs as part of the estate at the time of death.

Prenuptial agreements should be compatible with any other estate plans or wills. Both prenups and trusts are contracts that can override a will or support a case in the event of a will contest, however all parties would be best served if documents were in agreement and estate plans coincide with the prenuptial contract. Prior to marriage, couples should discuss their intentions, address potential problems and decide whether a prenuptial is the best course of action. You could create a very basic prenuptial agreement and then add details later to make directions more specific and to ensure that the document is compatible with a comprehensive estate plan.

Without a prenuptial agreement, the surviving spouse will have the right to at least part of the estate outright. A prenuptial agreement waives the right to the state mandated spouse's estate in lieu of other considerations. To prevent the automatic passing of the estate, couples should consider a prenuptial agreement. The contract can designate how property should be divided, including savings and retirement accounts, real estate, stocks and bonds, or a family business.

If you are seeking a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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