Love is in the air: Get a Pre-Nup
As Valentine’s Day approaches, so does spring and the wedding season. One too-often-forgotten step in marriage is a prenuptial agreement. While most people entering a first marriage have no use for a prenuptial agreement, there is a good reason why everyone entering a marriage who already has children needs one.
Spousal Rights in Inheritance
In Utah, if a married person with children from a prior relationship dies without a Will, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $75,000 of the estate (adjusted for 2009 dollar value) plus half of the remainder. The children from the prior marriage only receive the other half of that remainder.
Even if this person’s Will or Trust states that everything goes to their children, the spouse is still entitled to a spousal elective share, which amounts to roughly 1/3 of the estate, depending on which assets are exempted.
This amount is a floor and not a ceiling, so you can leave as much as you want to your spouse without a problem. However, if the goal is to leave everything to your children, your hands are tied.
Where a Prenuptial Agreement comes in
A prenuptial agreement is a simple document wherein each side entering into a marriage discloses their assets and debts, as well as agrees to certain rules regarding those assets. This is the simplest way to waive that spousal share upon death.
Many couples choose to leave something to their spouse after death, but a valid prenuptial agreement is the simplest way to ensure that their hands are not tied in leaving assets to the children that they bring to the marriage.
If you or a friend are looking at remarrying this year, take a look into a prenuptial agreement to protect the children’s rights in inheritance and to simplify the estate plan going forward.