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How to decide if you need a prenuptial agreement

If you want to sign a prenuptial agreement with your spouse, you may want to review the various pros and cons of entering into the agreement. By fully understanding your and your spouse's financial situations and what is possible to achieve with a prenup, you can better analyze your options.

Your prenuptial agreement could become a highly valuable document when and if you need to get a divorce. However, a prenuptial agreement may not be appropriate or necessary for all couples. As a couple weighs the benefits and setbacks of creating a prenuptial agreement before marriage, the following questions can help them decide on the matter:

Do you have real estate?

If you own real estate of your own, you might want to consider a prenuptial agreement which will help you define this property as your sole and separate assets. Otherwise, when it comes time to divorce, you might have to split the value of the property with your spouse.

Do you have over $50,000 worth of personal assets?

You can use a prenuptial agreement to separate out the assets in a bank or financial account as your personal property to protect it in the event of a divorce.

Do you have your own business?

Defining your business as individual property is important before entering a marriage. Otherwise, you could run the risk of losing equity from your business when it's time to divorce.

Does your estate have beneficiaries other than your spouse?

Your spouse will automatically assume ownership of your assets when you're gone, unless you wish for something else to happen to your estate assets. If your estate planning documents indicate other beneficiaries than your spouse, you may want to codify this in your prenuptial agreement.

Do you have a large retirement package?

If you have retirement benefits that exceed more than a year's worth of income, you may want to protect your ownership of them through a well-crafted prenuptial agreement.

Are you or your partner going to get an advanced degree?

When one partner continues working to pay for the other partner's education, courts will consider this as a form of investment into the other spouse. This could entitle the paying spouse to receive more of the marital estate as compensation upon divorce. A prenuptial agreement will offer a way to manage this potential property division issue without the need for court involvement later.

Are you ready to sign a prenuptial agreement?

If you want to sign a prenuptial agreement with your spouse, you may want to review the various pros and cons of entering into the agreement. With a solid grasp of each of your financial situations and what a prenup can do, you will be on a solid foundation for moving forward.

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