Prenuptial Agreements in California
Prenuptial agreements are sometimes called antenuptial agreements. Irrespective of their name, these agreements serve to separate certain financial and property interests before marriage.
A “Prenup” Determines
Why People Sign Prenuptial Agreements
However, people have other reasons for signing prenuptial agreements. An often overlooked reason is estate planning. A prenuptial agreement provides an easy, low-cost way for couples to determine which assets will remain exclusively theirs after marriage.
How Prenuptial Agreements Protect Estates
California is a community property state. Under the Golden State’s community property statutes, each spouse is entitled to a co-equal share in all assets acquired after marriage.
Community Property Assets Can Include
However, two financially independent spouses might wish to circumvent community property laws to pass on certain assets directly to their children or other beneficiaries. But California courts will typically assume that any estate planning omitting a spouse was made in error.
While you could create an estate plan which specifically addresses the issue of community property after a marriage, a well-considered prenuptial agreement could be easier to create and validate.
When to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement
Why You Should Speak to an Estate Planning Attorney
You could use a prenuptial agreement to clearly define which assets should remain individual assets, making probate and inheritance disbursements easier for your heirs. However, a prenuptial agreement should never be considered a replacement for a will or trust. While you could create a prenuptial agreement without a will—or a will without a prenuptial agreement—you must ensure that these documents do not conflict with one another. Any apparent conflict could be misinterpreted by a court or used by a prospective beneficiary to contest the estate.
Do You Need To Speak With An Attorney About Estate Planning?
If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call us directly at 800.756.5596 to first register for one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a special discount for our estate planning services should you decide to make a free appointment at the conclusion of the seminar and choose to proceed with us. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in Torrance, Newport Beach, Orange, Woodland Hills and Pasadena.