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Tip: coordinate your prenup with estate planning documents

In our last post, we mentioned that one of the potential uses of prenuptial agreements is to dispose of property, as in estate planning. In this post, we wanted to say a bit more on this topic, particularly with respect to coordinating estate planning with marital agreements.

For many Americans, marriage comes before there are any thoughts of estate planning. Very often, married couples wait until they have kids to form any sort of estate plan, prompted largely by the need to appoint guardians in the event of their untimely death. Others have an estate plan in place by the time they are married—often for the second time—and the plan has to be updated to reflect the changed circumstances. In either case, a prenuptial agreement can be part of the picture when it comes to estate planning, and can create complications if there is a lack of coordination. 

The most important thing with regard to estate planning and prenuptial agreements is to make sure these documents form a coherent plan disposing of one’s property and that documents are updated as necessary. Depending on what has been agreed to in the prenuptial agreement, an individual may find that there are provisions that conflict with one’s estate planning goals.

One can coordinate estate planning documents with a prenuptial agreement so that they complement one another. A prenuptial agreement might, for example, include provisions granting property to children from a previous marriage, while one can provide for children from a second marriage with life insurance beneficiary designations or placing property into a trust or trusts. If a prenuptial agreement includes provisions dealing with estate planning matters which are no longer sound, it may be necessary to seek a modification or revocation of the agreement.

The options in this area are many. Whatever the case may be, it is always important to work with an experienced attorney who can guide one through the process

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Tip: coordinate your prenup with estate planning documents | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC