As a Jacksonville, Florida Estate Planning Attorney, I frequently am preparing prenuptial (or “antenuptial”) agreements for clients. Prenuptial Agreements are not just necessary to plan for divorce. A prenuptial agreement is also an essential estate planning tool, particularly in second marriages.
From an estate planning perspective, we most often see prenuptial agreements in cases of second marriages when one or both of the parties individually owns real and personal property which they are bringing into the marriage. In Florida, married parties acquire certain rights in the property of their spouse unless an interest in that property is waived through a valid prenuptial agreement effectively segregated in some fashion. Florida laws concerning the “elective share” and “homestead” property convey certain rights to spouses and dictate how certain assets will be divided at the death of the first spouse.
Thus, an antenuptial agreement should address property acquired before the marriage, property which will be acquired during the marriage, debts which preexisted the marriage, how assets acquired during the marriage are to be divided, who can manage and dispose of certain assets during the marriage and how will property be divided in the event of a divorce. So, in cases of second marriages, particularly when there are children from prior marriages, the prenuptial agreement is an important part of the planning process. You can protect your wealth and your children by signing a prenuptial agreement, having a current trust or will and paying very close attention to how assets acquired during the marriage are titled. This way, you can have peace of mind even if you don’t live “happily ever after.” That is why we are preparing prenuptial agreements as Jacksonville, Florida Estate Planning Attorneys.