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Prenuptial Agreements: Not Just for the Rich and Famous

Agreements can be made between spouses before the marriage which lay out the terms of property division in the event of a divorce.  Most couples don’t want to think about divorce when planning their wedding, and they certainly don’t want to think about drafting a prenuptial agreement before getting married.

The wonderful thing about a prenuptial agreement is that if a couple never needs it, it never takes effect.  A prenuptial agreement can protect a spouse’s non-marital property and the assets s/he may have at the time of the marriage, as well as any separate property a person may acquire during the marriage such as an inheritance or gift.  States have individual requirements for prenuptial agreements (and some states refer to them as ante nuptial agreements).

Requirements for a Prenuptial Agreement

Generally speaking, a valid prenuptial agreement must be:

  • In writing
  • Signed by both parties
  • Acknowledged/notarized.

Additionally, the prenuptial agreement must include a full disclosure of financial assets of each party.

Getting Legal Help

Prenuptial agreements are complex legal contracts and are commonly drafted by an attorney. If one party has an attorney and the other party does not, there will be some question as to whether the party who was not represented by an attorney truly understood the rights s/he may have been relinquishing.  There can also be some question of undue influence.  To make sure there are no questions later about the circumstances surrounding the terms of the prenuptial agreement, both parties should be represented by competent attorneys.

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