Couples frequently use marital agreements as a way of determining each person’s respective rights and responsibilities in the other’s estate in the event of death or divorce.
- Prenuptial or Antenuptial Agreements – used by couples planning to marry
- Postnuptial Agreement – used by couples who are currently married
Ideally, discussion and implementation of marital agreements reduce, rather than increase, the likelihood that there will be future disagreement that might affect the marriage. In the event of a second marriage in particular, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can be used to safeguard assets for children within the merged family. These agreements may also be used when a spouse has (or will likely inherit) significant assets, which are to remain within his or her family.
As with all other estate planning instruments, careful and expert planning early can go a long way toward easing tensions and expediting procedures when a life event occurs and the plan is actually triggered.