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Prenuptial agreements can be part of an estate plan

For many Maryland families, protecting their base of wealth is a top priority. This is understandable, as many families have worked hard for decades to build their wealth or to broaden the base of inherited wealth. The prospect of losing a significant portion of those assets is a distressing prospect, and an issue that arises when a family is considering estate planning options. One tool that can be employed to protect wealth are prenuptial agreements as part of an estate plan.

The process is relatively simple: in order for an intended heir to claim his or her inheritance, there must be a strong prenup in place in the event of a marriage. This requirement helps ensure that a portion of inherited wealth is not lost in a divorce. Individuals can even specify the terms of a prenuptial agreement as part of their estate plan.

Having this requirement in place provides everyone involved with a high degree of transparency when it comes to the family's intentions. The individuals who anticipate an inheritance will know what is expected of them long in advance of finding a spouse. Those who are considering a marriage proposal will also know what to expect, and can make a decision on whether or not to sign a prenup after being fully informed of those expectations.

It should also be noted that a family member who does not want to sign a prenuptial agreement will still be allowed to marry his or her chosen partner. The couple would simply wed with the knowledge that the inheritance would be altered or eliminated altogether if there is not a prenup in place. While some in Maryland might view estate plans that require prenuptial agreements to be rather cold-hearted, others will view these measures as a loving precautionary measure, and one that is intended to keep wealth within the family.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Seven Tips For Managing Sibling Wealth Disparity", Doug Baumoel and Blair Trippe, June 29, 2017

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