Prenups, Estate Planning, and How They Work Together

Prenups Estate Planning and How They Work Together.

Most people believe a prenup is about addressing financial and other issues in the event of a divorce.  However, a prenuptial agreement can be a good estate planning tool.

Most prenups cover the areas of protecting separate properties of the spouses, division of property in the event of divorce or death, and the spouses’ inheritance rights.  If a couple is coming into a marriage with their own assets and wealth already accumulated, a prenup can protect those assets from becoming marital property, which could be considered part of the spouses’ estate in the event of death or divorce.

However, a prenup alone is not sufficient in most cases.  Clients should coordinate their prenup with their estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts.  It is important for a couple, whether marrying for the first time or remarrying, to review their estate plan or redo their estate plan after entering into the prenuptial agreement, to ensure that the estate planning documents match the terms of the prenup.

What happens if you do not have a prenup?  In Florida, a spouse can claim an elective share, or 30% of the estate, upon the death of a spouse.  This is a bare minimum amount.  Without a prenup or a will, a surviving spouse receives at least half of the estate, depending on other factors.  In a prenup, this claim can be waived, along with Florida homestead property rights, if the clients wish.  Other consideration must be given to the spouse in order to have these rights waived.

Prenup Estate Planning Help

The benefits of prenups can avoid potential costly litigation in both a divorce proceeding and inheritance proceeding.  By clearly stating and expressing the spouses’ wishes and rights in these document, plenty of time and money could be saved in the events of death or divorce, which are already stressful enough situations.