Prenuptial Agreements In Florida

So, you’re getting married.  You’re in love, your spouse-to-be and you have set the date, sent out the invitations, selected the menu and you are all set.
Maybe not.
Depending on your assets and that of your soon-to-be-spouse, you might want to consider a Prenuptial Agreement, or what Florida usually calls an Antenuptial agreement. They’re the same thing; Pre and Ante both mean “Before”; and nuptial means marriage.  Some people also call them “Prenups”.
I know, talking about money and who gets what in the event of divorce or death is not particularly romantic; and might seem to put a damper on the wedding celebration.
But, for more ‘senior’ clients, who’ve got significant assets and pensions and, more than likely, children by a previous marriage, talking about and agreeing who gets what when one partner dies matters; it matters a lot.
Florida allows a couple to decide before marriage who will get what and who has the right to what if the couple gets divorced or when one partner dies.  If  you don’t have such an agreement, then in the event of a divorce a judge will decide who gets what. If you are married when you die, Florida law sets out certain rights that the other partner has; including the right to own the homestead as long as they live, the right to up to almost a third of what the other partner owned, the right to act as executor or personal representative under some circumstances, and the right to up to $18,000 from the assets of the estate as a family allowance. All of which may come at the expense of the deceased spouses children or other heirs.
You can contract out of these rights prior to marriage; you can strike almost any sort of deal that you like; you can agree that what is one spouses stays with that spouse and what is the other spouses stays with that spouse; or you can agree that certain property and certain rights will pass to the surviving spouse at death but other things won’t.
There are certain requirements for these agreements to be enforceable; they must be in writing, they must be properly executed (signed, witnessed and notarized in particular manner); there should be ‘full and fair’ disclosure of what each party owns at the time of signing the agreement, and, ideally, the agreement should be signed well before the wedding so that one spouse can’t claim that they were forced into the deal at the last minute.
And, you do need to hire a lawyer to draft these; there are a lot of technical details and specific requirements that need to be met; in fact, it is a very good idea of both the husband and the wife hire their own attorney and both lawyers review the contract.
If  you have significant assets, and are getting married, you should at least talk to a lawyer about a prenuptial agreement well before the wedding date.  If you need a Prenup agreement in The Villages, Florida, please contact my office.

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