The primary purpose of marital agreements is to settle the questions of separation of assets and alimony in case of a divorce. Such an agreement can be made prior to a marriage (premarital or prenuptial agreement) or during the marriage.
Marital agreements may also provide for an alternative inheritance structure that even allows spouses to omit each other from their respective Wills. A valid marital agreement may override state rules about the elective share (forced inheritance) of the surviving spouse. This is a viable way of ensuring that the estate plan is carried out according to the wishes of the testator and is not altered by the surviving spouse’s choice of the elective share.
Finally, marital agreements are a major part of a well-designed asset protection plan.
The couple should keep in mind that both spouses require separate legal representation. One attorney cannot represent them both.
We draft premarital and marital agreements especially in complicated international situations, with an eye to balance, fairness and preserving harmony.