Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as a “prenup”, can be a useful tool for estate planning. In additional to a will and the use of trusts, a prenuptial agreement can strengthen and further solidify your wishes for the future distribution of your assets.
For estate planning purposes, a prenuptial agreement may list the couple’s assets and set parameters for what assets will be considered separate or joint. Although a will allows a decedent to leave their assets to whom they wish, there are restrictions on completely excluding a spouse from all assets without the spouse’s consent. By entering into a prenuptial agreement, the couple is using a legally accepted process to give clear consent to the future distribution of assets inconsistent with the normal restrictions.
Without a prenuptial agreement, if a decedent attempts to exclude their spouse from their will, Iowa law nonetheless says that the spouse is entitled to about one-third of your estate. This is not always favorable, as there may be family members that the deceased wished to give a significant amount or all of their assets to, such as children from a prior marriage.
In order to avoid the statutory restrictions that require a certain amount of your assets to go to you spouse, a voluntary, informed, and reasonably fair agreement must be entered before the couple is legally married. This agreement will signal to the court during the probate process that both spouses consented to the distribution under fair and legal circumstances.
The attorneys at Simpson, Jensen, Abels, Fisher & Bouslog, P.C. are experienced in drafting agreements that meet your individual needs. Contact us at (515) 288-5000 to discuss your prenuptial agreement with our firm.
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