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Prenuptial Agreements: An Asset Protection Planning Tool Before You Say “I do” a Second Time

Premarital or Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement or an ante nuptial agreement) is a contract between spouses which is made before the marriage.  The contract usually assigns rights to specific property and can also award one spouse rights to real estate which would otherwise be shared equally by the spouses.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common each year and are most common for subsequent marriages. People who get married for a second time are more likely to have property they want to protect and are more likely to be worried about the effects of divorce on their children’s inheritance.  A prenuptial agreement can protect property a spouse wants to pass on to his or her children rather than to a subsequent spouse.


For example, in New York, a spouse is entitled to one third of a spouse’s estate and even a valid last will and testament cannot waive the spouse’s right to the property.  A subsequent spouse can always voluntarily waive her right to property, but no court can force a spouse to waive property. A valid prenuptial agreement is the only way to guarantee property will be awarded to children or other beneficiaries and not to the spouse.

Getting Legal Help

Understanding your rights and those of your spouse are important factors in creating your estate planning documents. Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you get started on making smart choices to preserve and grow your estate.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111 to learn more.

Posted in: Estate Planning, New York Estate Planning