What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A Pre-Nuptial Agreement, also called an Ante-Nuptial Agreement, is a contract between two people before they marry. The contract sets forth the agreement of the parties regarding support, living arrangements, sharing of expense, division of assets at the death of each, and division of assets and support in the event of a divorce.
When do you need a Prenuptial Agreement?
As a general rule, a Pre-Nuptial Agreement is needed when there is a second marriage by one or both partners in a marriage. The reason is a surviving spouse has election rights to take assets from the Estate of a deceased spouse. These rights exist even if there is a Will leaving the surviving spouse out of any distribution.
If the surviving spouse is in a nursing home, without a valid Pre-Nuptial Agreement, that surviving spouse may be forced by the State of Michigan to take the election share to help pay for the nursing home expenses..
These election rights, in certain situations, may be as high as 100% of the assets in the Estate.
A Pre-Nuptial Agreement will set forth what each spouse is entitled to on the death of his/her partner and the State of Michigan cannot force a spouse to make election rights that were given up in the Pre-Nuptial Agreement.