Planning for the future is an essential part of any marriage, and one way to protect your assets and secure your financial interests is through a prenuptial agreement. A well-crafted prenup can provide both parties clarity, peace of mind and protection.
However, crafting a solid prenup is not as easy as it sounds. Mistakes can undermine a document’s effectiveness, validity and enforceability, leaving you exposed when it matters most. Therefore, it helps to be wary of common missteps that people make when drafting these legal resources.
Avoiding full financial disclosure
There is no room for dishonesty or deceit in a prenup agreement. You must come with clean hands. Hiding or undervaluing assets or debts can result in fraud or misrepresentation, voiding the agreement and/or leading to penalties. Both parties should provide detailed information about their income, property, investments, liabilities and other relevant realities.
Using ambiguous language
Using vague or confusing language can be detrimental to your prenuptial agreement. Avoid using language that is unclear, potentially misleading or can be understood in more than one way. Instead, ensure everything is in black and white, without room for misinterpretation, as the court will not enforce an ambiguous document.
Not planning for contingencies
A prenup should not be static or rigid. It should anticipate and accommodate possible changes in the future, such as children, career shifts, inheritance and health issues. An ill-planned prenup can become outdated or irrelevant over time and may not reflect the current realities and wishes of a couple.
Waiting until the last minute
A prenup is not something you should bring up a few days or weeks before the marriage. Start the conversation early and give yourselves ample time to discuss and negotiate the terms. This allows for open communication, reflection and adjustments without rushing through. Leaving the creation of your prenuptial agreement until the last minute can lead to rushed decisions and potential disputes. Prenups drafted too close to someone’s wedding day may also be interpreted as coercive and, therefore, unenforceable by the court.
Not seeking legal guidance
A prenuptial agreement is a complex legal document, and creating one yourself can be risky. You’ll want to ensure you have a solid agreement that will stand up to legal scrutiny and protect your interests. As such, it is prudent to have the necessary guidance to help avoid these mistakes and do everything by the book.