Nearly everyone is familiar with the idea of a premarital agreement. Pre- and post-marital agreements are legal documents that dictate what should happen to a married couple’s property and assets in the event of a divorce or death.
While most people know about the basics of these agreements, many are unaware of the effects they can have on an estate plan. Used in conjunction with a will or trust, a pre- or post-marital agreement can help strengthen your wishes for your heirs and your business, among other potential benefits.
What can a marital agreement do for you?
Regardless of whether you establish a marital agreement before or after the wedding day, there are many benefits to creating these agreements, including:
- Establishing financial rights: Specify what rights and responsibilities each spouse has regarding finances in the event of death or divorce.
- Offering protection from debts: Protect one spouse from taking on the other spouse’s debt.
- Expediting and simplifying a divorce: A marital agreement can dictate issues like property division, alimony, and other complicated divorce-related matters.
- Protecting business owners: Business owners may wish to clarify ownership rights of their small or family-owned business by using a marital agreement so that community property rights do not cause issues later.
While a marital agreement can provide both spouses or spouses-to-be with many benefits, it notably can also determine inheritance rights. This can be particularly useful for blended families, or if one or both spouses have children from previous relationships. A marital agreement can determine how property and assets will be divided upon divorce or death, ensuring that children or grandchildren from previous relationships, the current marriage, or both receive their fair share.
Earn the peace of mind you deserve
Whether you are newlyweds or you have just celebrated a wedding anniversary, it is never too late to create a marital agreement to protect both spouses and strengthen your estate plan. Consult with an estate planning attorney to discuss what you need to do to create one of these documents for your future.