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To Prenup, or Not to Prenup?

post11.jpgI see just as many women seeking prenuptial agreements these days as men. I suggest a prenup for those who have sizeable wealth, own a business or are entering into a second marriage with significant personal assets.

Prenuptial agreements occupy a fairly exotic place in the public imagination. They are the tinder of celebrity gossip. But when and for whom is a prenup appropriate?

Naturally, there are too-numerous-to-print opinions on this question. In fact, the New York Timesrecently assembled its own collection of opinions regarding this debate in a blog post titled "The Power of the Prenup," which shared the page with an opinion piece titled "Prenups for Some, Money Talk for All."

Practically speaking, once emotions are set aside (if they can be), prenups have their place as part of a "process." That process is called "communication." Since money matters top many studies regarding the sources of marital strife, money matters are a logical issue to address before tying the knot. A full disclosure of assets - and liabilities - is a good place to start.

Truth be told, a marriage (or remarriage) is a blending of lives and a blending of assets. In many marriages, the assets are fairly simple. In others, they are extremely complex. For example, closely-held business interests or family trusts can carry with them the extended interests of extended family. Unless these complex assets are considered, their ownership recognized and their eventual disposition agreed upon, then marital strife is often waiting in the wings.

Before you say "I do," be sure you fully understand and appreciate the consequences of your marriage when it comes to your assets. Accordingly, a well-drafted prenuptial agreement may be one of the tools to facilitate "communication" with your intended spouse and help prevent problems from spoiling your lives together.

For more information, please visit my estate planning website.

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