Prenuptial agreements can be an inheritance requirement

For many Florida couples who are preparing to wed, negotiating a prenup is not a step that the parties set out to take, but a requirement for one party in order to secure his or her inheritance. While “forced” prenuptial agreements can seem like a harsh family approach to wedded bliss, there is little debate about the fact that many marriages will eventually end in divorce. Viewed from a different angle, a prenuptial agreement can be seen as a savvy financial planning tool, and not a cruel or heartless statement about the strength of a couple’s commitment.

Consider the essence of an inheritance. This is wealth that is passed down from one generation to the next, or the one beyond that. It is not money that the recipient earned; it is money that was earned by others and is being gifted to the recipient. In some cases, the base of wealth was earned many generations ago, creating an even greater separation between the source of the wealth and the person who is expected to receive a share of that wealth.

This means that the family has every right to place conditions on how and when that wealth is passed down. Prenuptial agreements are just one way that these assets can be protected. Another approach is to set up a trust that prevents the intended heir from accessing any financial benefit when his or her behaviors or choices do not fall within clearly established guidelines, such as sobriety or avoiding excessive risk-taking behaviors.

Very few people enjoy being told what to do, and resistance to a prenup that is a prerequisite for receiving an inheritance is not uncommon. However, viewed from the perspective of the family, prenuptial agreements are simply a tool that can be used to protect from serious financial loss. After all, a long and happy marriage is the goal for all involved, and when that is the outcome, then both Florida spouses have the ability to enjoy the benefits of inherited wealth, which can be managed and preserved for future generations.

Source:, “Managing Sibling Wealth Disparity: Part 2“, Doug Baumoel and Blair Trippe, June 29, 2017

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