Prenuptial agreements occupy a fairly exotic place in the public imagination. They are the tinder of celebrity gossip. But when and for whom is a prenup appropriate?
Naturally, there are too-numerous-to-print opinions on this question in Overland Park and around the country. In fact, the New York Times recently assembled its own collection of opinions regarding this debate in an blog post titled “The Power of the Prenup,” which shared the page with an opinion piece titled “Prenups for Some, Money Talk for All.”
Practically speaking, once emotions are set aside (if they can be), prenups have their place as part of a “process.” That process is called “communication.” Since money matters top many studies regarding the sources of marital strife, money matters are a logical issue to address before tying the knot. A full disclosure of assets – and liabilities – is a good place to start.
I tell my clients the "love may be blind, but it's best to keep both eyes open."
Truth be told, a marriage (or remarriage) is a blending of lives and a blending of assets. In many marriages, the assets are fairly simple. For example, Gretchen and I barely had a "net worth" as we took on a student loan for my law school.
In marriages, however, the assets can be extremely complex. For example, closely-held business interests or family trusts can carry with them the extended interests of extended family. Unless these complex assets are considered, their ownership recognized and their eventual disposition agreed upon, then marital strife is often waiting in the wings.
Before you say “I do,” be sure you fully understand and appreciate the consequences of your marriage when it comes to your assets. Accordingly, a well-drafted prenuptial agreement may be one of the tools to facilitate “communication” with your intended and help prevent problems from spoiling your lives together.
Remember: When making your financial, tax and estate plans, don't go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
Reference: The New York Times (March 22, 2013) “Prenups for Some, Money Talk for All”