On November 8, 2017, the three adult children of a property developer discovered that their late father’s prenuptial agreement was not considered valid. The ruling came after a three-year dispute over their father’s multimillion-dollar estate initiated by his 36-year-old widow. Before marrying his young wife, the property developer insisted on having a prenuptial agreement signed solely to protect his estate so that his adult children could inherit his property empire. The developer believed that his prenuptial agreement and detailed estate plan would ensure that his final wishes were carried out. Sadly his family and others learned that not discussing your prenuptial agreement with your estate planning attorney can lead to disastrous results.
Keeps an Attorney from Being Blindsided
An experienced estate and trust attorney may know what situations they should be prepared to handle, but they are not telepathic. If you do not specifically tell your attorney about any contracts that you have signed, he or she could later be blindsided in probate court. The attorney you trust to help you create an estate plan must know about every aspect of your life including any contracts that you have in place with a spouse. Even though prenuptial agreements are becoming more common, it is entirely possible that your attorney will not ask if you have one in place.
Can Affect the Way Your Estate is Managed
Prenuptial agreements often take precedence when the estate is being distributed, and your estate administrator will need to know the details of the agreement before bequests are given to beneficiaries. If you pass away without finalizing a will, the prenuptial agreement could play an even larger role in asset distribution. An attorney who is dedicated to providing the most accurate and binding plan for your estate will need to view your prenup to determine the best way to ensure that your final wishes are respected.
Leads to Major Problems for Your Beneficiaries
A will and estate plan that does not incorporate an existing prenuptial agreement create major problems for all of your beneficiaries. The provisions in your prenup may directly conflict with your will, leading to the one or both documents being questioned. Probate takes several months under normal circumstances, and when determining the validity of an overlooked prenup is part of the process, your beneficiaries could spend years fighting for their inheritance. Contesting either contract costs time and money at a time when your loved ones are most vulnerable.
Contact MMZ Law
If you have a need to update or create an estate plan after having a spouse sign a prenuptial agreement, talking to an estate attorney is the best way to protect your loved ones. The team at MMZ Law is ready to help you determine what is best for your unique situation. We can work with you to protect the legacy you want to leave those closest to you. With an office conveniently located in Claremont, California, we are available to discuss your legal needs. Contact us today at 909-256-6702 to schedule an initial consultation.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
MMZ LAW, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711
MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.
This information is educational information only and not legal advice.