As someone getting married later in life, or perhaps getting married again, you likely have already accumulated certain assets. Although we all like to believe that our marriage will last “until death do us part,” the reality is that it does not happen all the time. You want your property and investments to go where you want them to whether you die married to your betrothed or you divorce. Doing so takes the help of an estate lawyer, ideally before you marry.
Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements
Perhaps the easiest way to protect your assets is through a prenuptial agreement. If you missed our previous post about the things you should know about prenuptial agreements, click here. In a prenuptial agreement you can arrange to protect your non-marital assets. Those are both property and investments acquired prior to the marriage. If you marry without a prenuptial agreement, you can still protect your assets by having your estate lawyer draw up a post-nuptial agreement along with your new will and other documents that should be altered after marriage.
Establish a Trust with an Estate Lawyer
Trusts are another way of protecting your assets. However, it depends on two things. The type of trust and what you put in the trust that you are looking to protect. If you put items that are only separate property (things you had or owned prior to the marriage), it is much less likely that a judge would look at that trust as marital property and divide it accordingly. If you have a trust already established, talk with your estate lawyer. It may be fine as is or you may need to revise it. The structure can impact whether it will continue to protect you and your assets.
Have a Current and Specific Will
One of the best ways to protect your assets is through a will. In this, you can designate where you want your belongings to go when you die. Although someone can contest a will if they so choose, if you have a current will with specific instructions, it is much less likely that there would be an issue. As an estate lawyer, we recommend that when you marry or remarry, even if you have a current will at the time of the marriage, that you draw up a new one. In order to best protect your assets, include your new spouse in the manner you choose. By doing so, your children, business partner, or a local charitable organization in Belleair Bluffs or elsewhere will still benefit from your estate.
Call Wagstaff & Pitelis for All Your Estate Planning Needs
Our team of Largo based estate lawyers have vast knowledge and experience in wills, trusts and advanced directives for the state of Florida. Let us help establish a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage and a new will or trust after you marry. Reach us today at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form today.