What Assets Should I Protect in a Prenup?

At Aiello & DiFalco, LLP, we have extensive experience preparing and reviewing prenuptial agreements. One question clients frequently ask is “What assets should I protect in a prenup.” We’ve prepared this guide to help you determine whether a prenup is right for you and how you can protect your assets with a well-conceived prenuptial agreement.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, commonly known as a “prenup,” is a legal contract entered into by a couple before their marriage, outlining the management and division of assets in the event of a divorce or death. This agreement is particularly important for those wishing to safeguard individual assets, ensure financial stability, or protect themselves from potential debts incurred by their partner. 

In short, a prenuptial agreement is a practical tool for couples to establish their financial rights and responsibilities during their marriage. It allows for the protection of individual assets, such as inheritance, business interests, or significant personal investments, ensuring they remain separate from marital assets. By clearly defining the financial terms, a prenup can help maintain harmony, reduce uncertainties, and set clear expectations from the outset.

Types of Assets To Include In A Prenup

You can protect various types of assets with a properly structured prenuptial agreement, such as:

  • Real estate – any property owned before the marriage, like houses or land
  • Business interests –protection for business owners to ensure that their business remains unaffected by marital disputes.
  • Investments and savings – stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, and other financial assets accumulated before marriage.
  • Inheritances and gifts – any inheritance or gifts received before or during the marriage can be classified as separate property.

It’s essential to evaluate these asset types thoroughly as they play a significant role in maintaining financial independence and clarity within a marriage. A well-structured prenuptial agreement, tailored to your specific circumstances, can provide peace of mind and a solid foundation for your future together. 

Debts and Liabilities

Debts and Liabilities are crucial elements to address in a prenuptial agreement, as they can significantly impact the financial dynamics of a marriage. A prenup allows couples to clarify which debts belong to whom, ensuring that each party is protected from being held responsible for the other’s premarital debts. This aspect of a prenup is especially important in safeguarding an individual’s financial health, as it prevents unforeseen financial burdens from surfacing in the event of a divorce.

In addition to premarital debts, a prenup can also stipulate the handling of potential liabilities incurred during the marriage. This can include credit card debts, loans, or any financial obligations that may arise. By setting clear expectations and responsibilities for such debts in a prenup, couples can avoid contentious disputes and ensure a fair and transparent handling of financial responsibilities, should the marriage dissolve.

Legal Considerations 

When drafting a prenuptial agreement, there are several special considerations to keep in mind. New York law requires full disclosure of all assets and liabilities by both parties, ensuring that the agreement is based on a mutual understanding of their financial situation. This level of transparency is crucial for the agreement to be considered fair and enforceable in court.

Additionally, New York follows the rules of equitable distribution, meaning that in the absence of a prenup, assets are divided based on what is deemed fair, which may not always be equal. Finally, each party should have independent counsel to avoid conflicts of interest and ensure the agreement’s validity. These considerations highlight the need for careful planning and legal guidance. That’s where Aiello & DiFalco can assist you. Trust us to help craft a prenup that not only protects your property rights but also passes muster with the court. 

How To Create a Prenuptial Agreement

Creating a legally binding prenuptial agreement involves several key steps to ensure its enforceability and fairness. First, both parties must fully disclose all their assets and liabilities. This transparency is critical as it forms the foundation of the agreement, ensuring that both parties make informed decisions.

The process of drafting the prenup should be started well in advance of the wedding to avoid any appearance of coercion, which is a common ground for challenging prenups in court. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. Importantly, the terms of the prenup must be fair and reasonable; an agreement that heavily favors one party over the other might be deemed unconscionable and thus invalid. 

How Our Firm Can Help

At Aiello & DiFalco LLP, we understand the importance of your decision to enter into a prenuptial agreement and are dedicated to guiding you through this process with precision and care. We provide personalized service, ensuring that you are fully informed and comfortable at every step. Our experience in handling a variety of complex cases, from business interests to intellectual property, positions us uniquely to address your specific concerns. Trust us to provide you with the legal support you need to enter your marriage with confidence. Contact us today to get started.