Written By: Kathrine V. Lacey, Esq.
Are Your Assets Going Where You Think They Are?
A common misconception people have about estate planning is that simply having a Will or Trust is sufficient to limit their spouse’s inheritance. This is not the case in New Hampshire. A well-drafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help ensure that, if you and your spouse wish to leave each other property after you pass, you do so intentionally—not simply because you overlooked applicable law.
In New Hampshire, a surviving spouse has the right to claim what is referred to as an “elective share” of their deceased spouse’s estate. The elective share option ensures that a surviving spouse can receive a share of their late spouse’s estate, even if their spouse’s will or revocable trust states otherwise.
The collaborative process provides you and your future spouse or current spouse with transparency and security while drafting your Pre- or Postnuptial. By coming to the table together with the support of your professionals, you avoid the questioning of intention and tone. As a further benefit, the team will model how to have tough financial discussions with respect and love, a skill that will help your marriage.
What Should a Pre- or Postnuptial Agreement Include?
As you might have guessed, prenuptial agreements (or “prenups”) are signed prior to marriage and postnuptial agreements (or “postnups”) are signed after. Both are contracts between two partners that outline the financial aspects of the marriage. A good prenup or postnup protects each partner’s individual assets in the event of death or divorce, and lets spouses make gifts to one another, if they want to, without jeopardizing those protections.
Prenup and postnup considerations include:
- Credit card and student loan debt
- Retirement accounts
- Business revenue, losses, and ownership
- Real estate interests
- Alimony, or the lack thereof
- Financial impact of family decisions, such as one partner staying home with children, early retirement of one partner, etc.
- Impact of commingling funds or owning assets jointly
- Retention of specific assets for children from a prior relationship
- Sunset clauses (will the agreement end after an event or time period?)
A well-drafted pre- or postnuptial, as an essential piece of your estate plan, must be customized for your particular family dynamic. Wescott Law’s experienced attorneys can assist you with the creation of a personalized estate plan and prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, to provide the result that benefits your family.
About Wescott Law
Wescott Law is dedicated to serving the legal needs of businesses and individuals in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and beyond. Our main office is located in Laconia with satellite locations in Meredith and Plymouth. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 524-2166. Attorneys Kathrine Lacey, Shawna Bentley, and Mark Waldner are ready to support your collaborative journey.
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