Earlier this year, we discussed the conundrum of splitting the assets of the world’s richest couple, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, due to their lack of a prenuptial agreement. As other high-profile romances have started and ended without prenups in the past year, some of you may ask when a prenuptial agreement is needed, what it protects, and whether it’s right for you.
“Prenup” is often considered a dirty word, hinting that spouses lack trust and placing undue focus on money. Look no further than the headlines — with Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin’s surprise marriage without a prenup, sites blared questions about how it will affect their estates; he’s worth $265 million, Baldwin $3 million. Likewise, when it was revealed Adele did not have a prenup with Simon Konecki, Forbes noted that $180 million was at stake in their divorce.
The media took different angles with these revelations. Bieber is reportedly worried about not having an agreement and wants to protect his assets. By contrast, Adele claimed money is “not that important a part of my life” and is unconcerned about splitting her estate. While the tabloids took different approaches in spinning these stories, the narrative about prenups themselves doesn’t change: they’re for people who worry about money. Right?
This is accurate in many ways. After all, prenuptial agreements outline how assets might be divided or protected during divorce. However, much like other customizable legal documents, prenups can serve several functions. Prenups can be used with other legal documents to clarify how a new marriage fits into existing estate plans. They can also protect an individual from their spouse’s debts and can stipulate that one spouse retains sole ownership of a business.
Other celebrity examples highlight the unique ways prenups can be used to maintain a marriage, rather than focus on its potential demise. Mark Zuckerberg drafted a “relationship agreement” with his wife, Priscilla Chan, agreeing to spend 100 minutes per week alone together. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s prenup includes monetary rewards for each year Urban refrains from abusing drugs or alcohol, to help keep him sober. Moreover, spouses can draft similar documents after marriage, called post-nuptial agreements, that function similarly to a prenup. Prenups and postnups, like other legal documents, can be modified to reflect changes in a marriage.
However, not all marriages need prenuptial agreements, with only about 5% of couples actually employing them. Nonetheless, blended families, business owners, those owning large amounts of property, or those with significant debt should consult a lawyer prior to marriage to understand the best options to protect both spouses. Should a prenup suit your situation, it’s advised that each partner retain a different attorney and invest time and consideration before reaching a decision. The experienced family attorneys at Bellah Perez, PLLC can answer your questions, draft your documents, and integrate your impending nuptials into your existing legal plans to reflect your needs. Each marriage is unique, and therefore requires unique legal attention. Call Bellah Perez today – (602) 252-9937.
Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.