15 Feb Prenuptial agreements for high net worth couples
Prenuptial agreements may not be a fun topic, but if you are an older couple or a couple bringing significant assets to the marriage a prenuptial agreement could be an important consideration.
When we are in love we don’t like to think about divorce, but by some statistics over 50% of marriage in the US end in divorce and 100% end in death; either way there are assets that need to be distributed.
Many older couples may bring real estate holdings, significant personal savings, or other assets of value to the marriage. There may be a desire to keep these assets separate, and a prenuptial agreement can set forth guidelines to direct those distributions. This allows for guidance when clear heads may not be possible in the emotionally trying times after a divorce or the death of a spouse.
Certainly not all couples need a prenuptial agreement. A young couple in their first marriage, little to no assets, and no expectation of a large family trust or inheritance may not need a prenup. Couples looking to grow their marital estate from the beginning of their marriage would clearly be in a situation where a prenup would not be necessary and possibly even ill-advised.
Let’s look at some of the cases where a prenuptial agreement could be advisable.
Significant personal assets
Let say you are a 50-year-old couple each with children from earlier marriages, homes in your own name, and significant investment holdings. Maybe you also have a few million dollars in stocks, a classic car collection, or a significant portfolio of rental property. In this case, there are significant considerations regarding whose children inherit what and who gets the homes, cars, or rental portfolio in the event of the death of a spouse or a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can outline this in advance, so there are no lengthy legal battles when the time comes to distribute assets.
Large inheritance or trust from family or estate
If you anticipate a large inheritance, if you have a trust that will become yours upon marriage or at certain age, it would be in your best interest to protect these assets set aside for your future with a prenuptial agreement. It’s sad to say, but there are many marriages today that are nothing more than a long con designed to dupe rich kids or older widows or widowers from their fortunes in the name of love. Be safe rather than sorry and protect your assets.
Kids from previous marriage
Often some of the nastiest court battles over money arise from children fighting over their inheritance after the death of parent. If no will or agreement is in place, there are state laws that govern the dissolution of assets and their subsequent distribution to the children. Do you really want the state to determine this for your children? There are also tax issue to consider like inheritance tax or an irrevocable life insurance trust to shield assets from creditors upon death. All these things require an attorney and should be part of prenuptial planning.
When one spouse owns a business prior to marriage, a prenuptial agreement makes sense to protect the business owner from having to sell the business to give the spouse his or her half in the case of a divorce. This will also protect the other spouse from being held liable for business-related debts incurred by the business owning spouse before the marriage.
If you are a couple with significant assets, and want to make sure your rights adequately protected, call Tammy Karas Griggs today at (985) 247-0345 to set an appointment.