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Reasons couples should consider a prenuptial agreement

Prenuptial agreements often carry a stigma. Many people believe that they mean a marriage will eventually end in divorce. While it is true that they often include protections in case of divorce, they also offer many different safeguards for married couples.

Whether or not to create a prenuptial agreement can be a tough decision. Here are some reasons couples should consider a prenuptial agreement.

Protecting significant finances

Prenuptial agreements can protect finances in many forms, including each individual's:

  • Personal assets
  • Inheritances
  • Income
  • Business investments
  • Stock shares

Couples can also delegate financial responsibilities in a prenuptial agreement. For example, young couples could agree that they are each responsible for repaying their own student loans. That way, one person will not suffer penalties if the other falls behind on their payments.

Determining property rights

In addition to finances, a prenuptial agreement can also protect individual property. Generally, couples can:

  • Decide how to use or share property and real estate holdings
  • Keep individually owned property or real estate separate
  • Define rules for transactions involving this property

Washington is a community property state. That means that property collected during a marriage belongs to both spouses, regardless of who purchased it. And during a divorce, couples may have to divide that property equally because of that equal ownership.

A prenuptial agreement can help couples determine property division strategies that work best for them. In the event of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can make property division easier.

Establishing a plan for an estate plan

Marital agreements are not exactly estate planning tools. However, they can contribute to a couple's estate plan. Couples can decide how to:

  • Pass down heirlooms or other family property
  • Distribute property after the death of one or both partners
  • Provide for children from previous relationships

A prenuptial agreement can only cover certain estate planning issues. It is still essential for couples to create valid estate planning documents, including wills or trusts.

Securing individual rights

If couples have significant finances, possess real estate or simply want to outline their expectations for the future, a prenuptial agreement could be the right choice. 

The main goal of a prenuptial agreement is to safeguard the rights of each individual in a relationship. It does not have to be a sign of divorce. It is a way for individuals in a relationship to look out for themselves and each other before committing to marriage.

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