Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Effective estate planning through a prenuptial agreement

Many Salt Lake City residents may spend years, or even decades, building up assets for themselves and their families. Through hard work and dedication, individuals may accumulate valuable real or personal property or make investments that grow significantly over time. Given the work that goes into building these assets, and the sheer value of the assets themselves, it is not surprising that individuals want to protect these items as best they can.

There are many different ways this protection can be accomplished. One way that might not be thought of by some, however, is the use of prenuptial agreements that lay out how property is to be handled upon the end of a marriage.

For example, a person who has assets he or she intends to pass on to their children or other beneficiaries may find a prenuptial agreement an effective way of accomplishing that goal. Without the agreement, the person's plans may be invalidated through the property division laws involved in a divorce proceeding.

In other cases, a person might get married later in life after he or she has already accumulated assets and wealth. The person may not want the assets to go to the new spouse, or to the new spouse's children, in the event of a high asset divorce. Yet, this frequently happens if a prenuptial agreement is not in place, as a person's children may receive little to nothing after their death, while the distant children of a new spouse end up receiving property that was never meant to go to them.

In this sense, prenuptial agreements can be effective not only as a basic contract, but also in relation to the person's estate plan as a whole. After all, individuals often spend a great deal of time and effort considering how they want their estate to be distributed after their death. The marital agreement can play an important role in this process, separate and apart from its use in ordinary divorce proceedings.

Source: The Spectrum, "A marital agreement can be an easy and simple solution," Bo Bingham, Oct. 21, 2016

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