Prenuptial, Postnuptial, & Cohabitation Agreements
Information from an Estate Planning Lawyer in Denver
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements both serve to define the financial rights and obligations of spouses during a marriage and in case there is a divorce. These marital agreements specifies how premarital and marital assets are to be divided when one or both of the parties die.
Using Marital Agreements in Estate Planning
These arrangements are popular among couples marrying for the second time. Pre- and postnuptial agreements are an effective means of dealing with property and estate issues while avoiding litigation for blended families and in situations where there is a significant difference in wealth and income between the couple.
Besides defining property rights, these agreements are valuable estate planning tools that can be used to:
- Reduce or eliminate the federal estate tax
- Preserve the marital deduction when the first spouse dies
- Protect the inheritance of the children
- Provide financially for the surviving spouse
- Provide for the division and distribution of estate assets upon the death of either party
If you are contemplating marriage and wish to execute a prenuptial agreement, it is important that it be in place well before the ceremony. While there is no set standard or time limit, it is wise to execute the agreement at least three months prior to the wedding. Otherwise, you will run the risk that a court will void the agreement on the grounds that your fiancée was coerced into signing to avoid the embarrassment of having to cancel the wedding.
A cohabitation agreement is similar to marital agreements except that it is between a couple that has chosen to live together but not marry. Besides addressing the couple's financial rights and obligations, a cohabitation agreement reduces the possibility that the surviving party can claim inheritance rights as a "common law" spouse of the deceased partner.
For unmarried couples with few assets, a less expensive and less complicated estate planning tool is a designated beneficiary agreement.This agreement enables each party to:
- Make funeral arrangements for each other
- Inherit property from the other
- Receive death benefits
A designated beneficiary agreement is an effective estate planning tool for same-sex couples. It is an affirmation in writing that partners wish to extend the legal right to make medical decisions in emergencies and visit their partner in the event of hospitalization. Cohabitation or designated beneficiary agreements can provide peace of mind and insure that your partner is taken care of in the event of your death or disability.
Are You Considering a Marital or Cohabitation Agreement?
Retaining Attorney James A. Littlepage to draft your agreement can ensure that it meets all requirements of Colorado law and that your interests can be protected. The James A. Littlepage Law Offices provides probate and estate planning services to individuals throughout the Denver area and across Colorado. Our knowledgeable Denver estate plan lawyer can assist you with creating the agreement that best suits your needs and situation.
To learn about your options, schedule your consultation today.