If you are thinking about having a prenup drawn up before you tie the knot in Wake County, you may want to find an attorney who focuses on estate planning too. Perhaps surprisingly to some, a prenuptial agreement can be a key piece of estate planning documentation. Many couples see the importance of creating a binding prenuptial agreement in order to protect their assets and plan for their future.

Today, blended families are far from unusual.  During the newlywed planning phase, the couple needs to consider what happens to “yours, mine, and ours” in the event of divorce, as well as death.  You may each have certain items or financial support that you want to designate specifically for your own biological children, and a prenup can be used in combination with estate planning documents to make these wishes known.

This is also the case when older couples marry.  They may each have their own grown children and grandchildren that they wish to provide for.  Without the proper agreements, a surviving spouse will often become the default heir to the other’s estate, allowing the spouse to do with it whatever he or she sees fit.  It could be perfectly legal for the deceased spouse’s children to inherit nothing.

Working with a lawyer before exchanging vows can help to clarify each partner’s wishes, as well as to provide legal documentation.  Simply discussing your preferences is not enough.  To be binding, the prenuptial agreement must be in writing, and both spouses must sign it.

It is important that each spouse takes the appropriate amount of time to read the entire document to ensure that he or she agrees with it and is not being pressured into signing something.  A prenup that seems grossly unfair to one spouse or the other may not hold up in court, so this step is pretty important.  Some states even require that each party is advised by his or her own prenup lawyer rather than sharing the same attorney.  If one spouse omits information or outright lies about it in the prenup, that can also render it invalid.

While creating a prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic way to go into a marriage, it can be important from an estate planning point of view.  It allows you to plan for the future and to designate your own heirs.  Some people who skipped this step are now coming to prenup lawyers to request “post-nuptial agreements.”  These documents work quite similarly to the prenuptial agreement but are simply done after the wedding is over.  It is best not to wait, but if you have to, a Cary prenup lawyer can still get the ball rolling for you.

While our office does not prepare prenuptial agreements, we are happy to work with your family law attorney to ensure that your prenuptial agreement and estate plan work together in the way that you intend.  If you’re ready to get started with this process, we invite you to contact our office at 919-443-3035 and ask to register for an upcoming seminar or schedule a Vision Meeting.

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