Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements aren’t just about protecting assets – they can be powerful and important estate planning tools. Particularly in later-in-life or second marriages, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can protect assets acquired prior to the marriage (“premarital assets”) and protect interests of children from prior marriages or relationships.

Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, surviving spouses in Minnesota have the right to elect up to 50% of the deceased’s estate regardless of what was provided in the will. The percentage of the spouse’s interest depends on the length of the marriage. Therefore, the surviving spouse may be entitled to a share of the estate even if they were not provided for in the will or named as a beneficiary on a non-probate asset. Furthermore, the surviving spouse may also opt to take the elective share if he or she feels they were not sufficiently provided for by the decedent.

The only way to avoid election to the spousal share is by mutual agreement. An effective way to do this is through a prenuptial agreement where prior to marriage, the parties agree to waive any right to claim an elective share of the deceased spouse’s estate. These rights may also be waived after marriage through a postnuptial agreement. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have numerous requirements in order for them to be legally binding, and can be extremely complex and complicated.

Schromen Law, LLC can assist in making the process fast and easy by facilitating open discussions to reach a fair agreement that meets both spouse’s needs and goals. It is a common misbelief that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are essentially planning for the demise of that relationship. To the contrary, working to reach these agreements fosters open communication and a collaborative process of planning for the future together.