The Pros and Cons of Prenuptial Agreements

Americans today are getting married later in life.  Currently, the average age of a first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men — an increase of four years for women and three years for men in just the last 25 years.

So it may not be so surprising that more well-established brides and grooms are considering prenuptial agreements to be part of the wedding process.  According to a 2013 survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 63% of attorneys surveyed said they have seen an increase in prenups over the past three years.

A recent Wall Street Journal article examined the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements in two differing essays written by female attorneys.  Arguing in favor of prenups, Pennsylvania attorney Cheryl Young writes that the realities of marriage — that many end in divorce and, of those that don’t, all end in death — dictate the need for prenups, especially for those couples with assets of their own or an expected inheritance.

Arguing against prenups, Massachusetts attorney Laurie Israel concedes that prenups do have their uses, particularly for couples marrying later in life with children from a previous marriage.  However, she calls prenups “unnecessary, overly broad and mean-spirited,” and says they harm the spouse with fewer assets who is likely to “contract away” his or her marital rights.

Whether you are for pre-nups or not, when you have an estate plan set up to provide for a lifetime of asset protection — this goes beyond a typical revocable living trust plan –  you can avoid the need for prenuptial planning altogether.

The best way for this kind of planning to be set up is for a parent to set a trust up that leaves an inheritance (or makes a gift during life) to her child in a protected trust we call a lifetime asset protection trust. That trust, when set up right, can never be reached in the event of a divorce, or by any other creditors, ever.

As a Personal Family Lawyer®, I can further advise you on all your options and make things as easy as possible for your family during a Family Wealth Planning Session.  If you would like to have a talk about estate planning for your family, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.

To your family’s health, wealth and happiness!

David Feakes

P.S.  Want to get started on the most important planning you’ll ever do for your family?  Give our office a call at (978) 263-6900 to get started.  You’ll be so glad you did.

David Feakes is the owner of The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, PC – a law firm for families in the Acton, Massachusetts area.  David helps parents protect the people they love the most.  If you would like to receive David’s exclusive, free report, “Six Major Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing An Estate Planning Attorney,”  you can get it right here.

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At The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, we answer your questions at your convenience; we stay in frequent communication; and we meet to discuss changes in life circumstances and in the law to ensure that your assets are protected.

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