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Prenuptial agreements protect children in estate planning

Individuals in North Carolina who are getting married and who have children from a previous relationship should consider a prenuptial agreement. Such an agreement can help to ensure that the children from the previous relationship are protected if their parent divorces or dies.

Wills and trusts may not always be sufficient in these situations. Furthermore, when it comes to estate planning, it is better to be as specific as possible. When actor Robin Williams died, he did not include some personal items including watches in his estate plan, and this led to conflicts between children from a previous marriage and his third wife. A prenuptial agreement is a useful document for including more detailed information about personal items.

For people who do opt for a prenup, there are several guidelines to keep in mind. If both parties are represented by attorneys and financial records are as transparent as possible, the prenup will be seen as stronger in a legal sense. Furthermore, the prenup should be prepared some time prior to the wedding. However, for those who did not write a prenup, a postnuptial agreement can still be prepared, and these are increasingly upheld in courts. Individuals can also appoint an impartial arbiter to deal with possessions that are not covered in the agreement. Finally, if individuals do not mix assets after marriage, it is easier to sort out what belongs to each spouse.

An individual may wish to consult an attorney regarding an agreement of this type prior to marriage. For example, the person might have children from a previous marriage that they wish to pass some family heirlooms or other personal items down to. A prenuptial agreement can help to ensure that if the marriage ends in a divorce or the individual dies, these items go to the children rather than to the spouse.

Source: CNBC, "Remarrying? Shower kids with love, and a good prenup", Constance Gustke, Feb. 12, 2015

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