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Family wealth and prenuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement can be important in preserving family wealth for Georgia residents. However, it is important for parents to introduce their children to the concept early. In this way, it becomes a normal expectation. One way to think about prenuptial agreements when a lot of family wealth is involved is as a kind of legacy. Preserving this wealth means that people are able to pass family assets on to their own children.

Another advantage of introducing this concept early, before the person's spouse-to-be is introduced, is that it keeps this focus on the wealth itself and does not suggest that a prenuptial agreement is necessary because of the future spouse. Discussing the importance of a prenuptial agreement also ensures that the child has some understanding of the family wealth. Because one element of creating a prenup is full disclosure of assets, if this conversation is postponed until a child is ready to marry, that child may only learn the full extent of the family finances at that time.

In some cases, children might still resist the idea of having a future spouse sign a prenuptial agreement. If this happens, parents may create trusts to protect the family wealth.

If a person does not have a prenuptial agreement, then a high-asset divorce may be complicated. Even if the person's family has placed certain assets in a trust, there may be business interests, investments and other assets that might need to be divided. Some assets may need to be appraised before they can be divided. People should also understand the implications of selling or dividing certain assets such as taxes on some assets that are sold. Specific procedures may need to be followed in dividing some types of pension plans and retirement accounts to avoid taxes and penalties for early withdrawal.

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Hecht Family Law
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