In today’s world, second marriages are increasingly common. In many situations, these second marriages involve children from previous relationships. It is crucial to update an estate plan whenever a second marriage occurs. This new relationship creates many issues that need to be addressed in order to properly plan for the administration of an estate. In some cases, a prenuptial agreement may be used as part of the estate plan to address some of these issues.
6 Factors to Ensure a Prenuptial Agreement Is Valid
Many people do not realize that prenuptial agreements are not just about protecting assets in the event of a divorce. These agreements can also be used to address inheritance rights. A prenuptial agreement can protect assets accumulated prior to the marriage from being mixed with the assets and property accumulated during the marriage when dividing up assets at the time of one spouse’s death. To help ensure that prenuptial agreement is valid, the following criteria should be met:
- The prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses. Verbal agreements may not be enforceable in court.
- Enough time must be provided for both parties to review the prenuptial agreement. Ideally, it should be signed at least 30 days prior to the marriage. This helps to ensure that each party had ample opportunity to think through its terms.
- There should be no pressure involved. A prenuptial agreement can be deemed invalid if one spouse was pressured into signing it by the other spouse.
- Both spouses must be completely truthful with regard to the prenuptial agreement. All assets and liabilities must be fully disclosed. If one spouse omits or lies about information, the agreement can be invalidated.
- The prenuptial agreement cannot contain any invalid provisions. For example, if the agreement attempts to modify child support obligations, this is not permitted. Further, if the terms of the agreement are grossly unfair to one spouse, the prenuptial agreement may be deemed invalid.
- Both spouses must have an opportunity to seek advice from separate attorneys before any agreement is signed.
Prenuptial agreements must be carefully coordinated with the other documents utilized in an estate plan. It is important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney in order to carry this out. We encourage you to check out our client testimonials to learn how we have helped others properly modify their estate plans.