Beitchman & Zekian Blog

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Archive for property division

Love & Marriage…and a Prenup

Spring.  It’s the time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.  Or so they say.  With about one third of first marriages ending up in divorce and approximately half of subsequent marriage coming to the same conclusion, it is no wonder that more and more savvy brides and grooms to be are addressing their financial planning through a prenup, especially those who own their own businesses, real estate, or, as we are in LA – home of the entertainment business, have worked for years on their scripts, music, or other intellectual property.

We all know the stigma of the prenup – why start the marriage with the idea that it will end?  For the same reason it is recommended that you speak with an estate planner sooner rather than later.  It is a contingency which provides for the financial security and well-being of the individuals who are making a commitment to stay together for the rest of their lives, but are realistic enough to know that marriage is not only the uniting of hearts, but of bank accounts and finances and when it comes to romance and money, one cannot know what the future will bring.

A prenuptial agreement (or sometimes an antenuptial or premarital agreement) serves the purpose of providing a roadmap with respect to the distribution of assets should a marriage end in divorce or death.  These agreements set out the consequences should one or both of the parties commit adultery, separate or divorce before a certain amount of time passes, or for the birth of children.  There are, of course, some prenups which address less common topics, for example monetary benefits or detriments based on weight gain, drug use, or spending habits.

Now, many people believe that because they are not heiresses, or multi-millionaires they do not need a prenup.  This is not true.  A prenup is useful to people of all socio/economic classes.  In fact if you have assets such as real property, stocks, retirement funds, intellectual property such as scripts, lyrics, songs, or films, or certain personal property you wish to protect and ensure is established as separate property; if you are pursuing or have already obtained a degree/license in a possibly lucrative profession (ie: law or medicine),  if you own all or part of a business, if you have elderly parents or family members who need care, if you have children or grandchildren from previous relationships, if one person earns more than the other or if you might be receiving an inheritance, you would do well to discuss a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse and consult with an attorney.

If you have questions, or would like more information about prenuptial agreements or what can be protected under the prenup, please contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. If you’ve been asked to sign a prenup and you’re not sure about the conditions of the agreement or whether you and your property are protected, we can assist you with that as well.