Pre & Post-Nuptial Agreements and Wills
Westford Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement & Wills Lawyers
When marrying, you likely do not think about what will happen if your marriage ends in divorce. While marriages are unions founded upon love and commitment, they are also legal relationships. That means Massachusetts law will come into play concerning your assets, property, debts, and other financial matters should your marriage fail. Because of this, many couples make pre-arrangements as to how these financial matters will be handled ahead of time, either before the marriage takes place (prenuptial) or afterward (postnuptial).
At Ryder & Phelps, P.C., we can help you negotiate, draft, finalize, and amend prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. In addition to this financial planning, we also provide estate planning to individuals and couples through the use of wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, and other legal methods. Our team is well-versed in the legal standards and requirements for these vital documents and is ready to serve you in these important financial matters.
Get competent legal help from a Westford prenuptial/postnuptial agreement and wills attorney in making sound financial arrangements. Contact Ryder & Phelps online or by phone at (978) 381-1660 to book a confidential consultation.
As a family law office, Ryder & Phelps, P.C. also provides legal assistance with the drafting, implementing, and amending of estate plans. These plans allow you to protect your legacy, ensure your estate is passed on according to your wishes, and give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind.
Estate plans can include the following:
- Wills. These form the foundation of your plan, listing your property and how you wish it to be passed on to your named heirs and beneficiaries. Wills also name executors who will be responsible for administering your estate and can name guardians for any minor children.
- Health Care Proxies. These allow you to authorize a trusted person to make healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to due to incapacity.
- Powers of Attorney. These documents allow you to name someone to take care of your life or financial affairs should you be unable to.
- Living wills. These set forth what type of medical interventions you wish or do not wish to have in end-of-life situations.
- Revocable and irrevocable trusts. These are many and varied in design and purpose and can protect your assets from probate, taxes, and litigation while generating income, and more.
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Prenuptial agreements are written contracts created by couples before marriage that go into effect when the wedding occurs. Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements except that they are created after the marriage has occurred and go into effect immediately. These agreements set forth how marital property and debt will be divided or distributed should the marriage end, outlining each party’s rights and obligations in financial matters.
These contracts can do the following:
- Set forth what are premarital assets and outline whether they will remain the separate property of the spouse who is the owner or become marital property
- Determine how marital property will be divided/distributed should the marriage end
- Set forth what premarital debts belong to each spouse and determine whether such debts will remain the sole responsibility of the debt owner or be shared during the marriage as well as determine how debts accrued during the marriage will be divided
- Set forth whether alimony will be part of any future divorce settlement
- Make financial provisions for children from previous relationships, such as inheritances
- Determine how business interests/earnings will be handled
- Determine whether retirement accounts will remain as separate property (without this provision, retirement accounts will likely be viewed as marital property)
- Handle any other financial matter relevant to the marriage
Child support and child custody cannot be determined in a prenuptial/postnuptial agreement as these are subject to court oversight in any future divorce.
To be considered valid, these agreements must be drafted and finalized according to Massachusetts law. To be valid contracts, they require full financial disclosure from both parties, must be signed voluntarily, and cannot have been accomplished through coercion. To increase the likelihood of being enforced in court, it is best that you have independent legal representation before signing any agreement.