“Prenuptial agreement” is probably the last phrase you want to hear your future spouse utter However, pre-nuptial agreements can be in the interest of both parties entering into marriage. A pre-nuptial agreement is one way of having the division of assets addressed in advance of death or divorce. But before you get angry at your future spouse for uttering those words, read through the following post and think about the possibility that perhaps a prenuptial agreement is an appropriate legal mechanism for protecting yourself in event of divorce or death.
Q: What is a prenuptial agreement?
A: By definition, a prenuptial (“prenup”) agreement is simply a written agreement between two people who are about to marry. In the event that the marriage is dissolved, it focuses on the possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division.
Q: What can I include in my prenup?
A: Prenups include provisions for all types of financial, property, and personal assets. As long as it is fair and consistent with the laws of Massachusetts, you can include any and all items or assets that already exist or that may exist in the future (anticipated inheritances etc…). Additionally, a prenup can include a provision for future alimony or even a waiver of future alimony.
Q: Do I really need a prenuptial agreement?
A: The risk of not having a prenuptial agreement is that in the event of a divorce or death, you run the risk of the State deciding how your estate should be distributed. Should you have children from a prior marriage, there are some scenarios where the State can grant most if not all assets to the surviving spouse, leaving little to nothing for children from that prior marriage.
Q: Aren’t prenups just for rich people? Do I really need one?
A: Anyone looking to protect any premarital assets should consider a prenuptial agreement.
Q: What if I want to change the terms in the prenuptial agreement later on in my marriage?
A: Prenups can be changed or even cancelled later into the marriage. However, both people in the contract need to agree to the new terms.
Q: I found a sample prenuptial agreement online. Can’t I just write my own based on that one?
A: This is where things can get tricky. While there are plenty of sample prenuptial agreements online, it is questionable whether or not they will be validated in a court of law or if they really protect your individual interests. Additionally, it is hard to tell if the agreement will withstand it being challenged. This is why it is strongly recommended to seek attorneys to help draft your prenuptial agreement. Having a Massachusetts attorney represent you will help ensure that your prenuptial agreement would be consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and increase the changes that it withstand being challenged. The terms of the prenuptial agreement must be deemed fair when it was written and when it is being enforced. Only an attorney can help you draft such a contract. Additionally, we always recommend that both parties should have their own counsel review the agreement.
Q: I heard that Levine-Piro Law is really good. Can’t I just go to them?
A: While we are more than happy to help you draft your prenuptial agreement or review an agreement that has been drafted by another attorney, it is advised for each spouse to seek out separate attorneys (don’t worry, we can point you in the right direction). The reason for this is to increase the likelihood that the prenuptial agreement will be validated. It would be a conflict of interest for our firm to represent both parties.
Q: Will I spend all of my saved assets on attorney’s fees for this prenuptial agreement?
A: The cost to draft and/or review a prenup will vary depending on how much time is required and the time required is based on the length and complication of the agreement.
While no one wants to think of the possibility of divorce or death, either of those possibilities brings forth an onslaught of difficulties. With the use of prenuptial agreements, people can have one less thing to worry about during the stressful times of death and divorce.