How important is a prenuptual agreement if all assets are seperate?

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I realize this is really a question for a lawyer and not an online forum, and that there may be many variables in different states (I am in WA), but I figured I would ask since there are some smart people on here that may have experience with this.

I'm getting married soon.  I have significantly more assets than my future wife, including a house that is in my name alone which has a good amount of equity, property which was inherited from my family, and money in my own separate account.  We have no shared accounts or things purchased together (though she would pay a small amount of rent each month). I plan to keep separate accounts once we are married as well.
While I am fully confident that this marriage will work, and have no doubts about it, I feel the need to play things safe and be protected.  I have heard too many stories about people getting divorced, and the woman takes 50-80% of everything the man had.

However upon trying to read up on the subject, I hear mixed things.  For example I've heard money/property which was inherited might be protected.  I've also heard that prenups may be designed to protect "property acquired during marriage", but I'm not quite sure the status of property acquired before marriage.
Ultimately, I'm just trying to get an idea if my existing assets in my own name are at risk.  If all my assets are reasonably protected, and a prenup wouldn't make much difference, then maybe I can avoid the time, expense, and awkwardness and potential hurt feelings of getting one.

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mxmaniac said:   If all my assets are reasonably protected, and a prenup wouldn't make much difference, then maybe I can avoid the time, expense, and awkwardness and potential hurt feelings of getting one.
IANAL, but trying to avoid the "expense" part sounds penny wise, pound foolish. I also wouldn't risk such a massive amount of assets to avoid "awkwardness and potential hurt feelings."

That said, maybe you could put your assets in a trust before you get married (having it structured so that it's shielded from your future spouse), but that's something you should discuss w/ a competent attorney (probably an estate attorney)! I have no idea how to find attorneys, let alone competent ones whom specialize in areas that one may be seeking.

mxmaniac said:   I realize this is really a question for a lawyer and not an online forum, and that there may be many variables in different states (I am in WA), but I figured I would ask since there are some smart people on here that may have experience with this.

I'm getting married soon.  I have significantly more assets than my future wife, including a house that is in my name alone which has a good amount of equity, property which was inherited from my family, and money in my own separate account.  We have no shared accounts or things purchased together (though she would pay a small amount of rent each month). I plan to keep separate accounts once we are married as well.
While I am fully confident that this marriage will work, and have no doubts about it, I feel the need to play things safe and be protected.  I have heard too many stories about people getting divorced, and the woman takes 50-80% of everything the man had.

However upon trying to read up on the subject, I hear mixed things.  For example I've heard money/property which was inherited might be protected.  I've also heard that prenups may be designed to protect "property acquired during marriage", but I'm not quite sure the status of property acquired before marriage.
Ultimately, I'm just trying to get an idea if my existing assets in my own name are at risk.  If all my assets are reasonably protected, and a prenup wouldn't make much difference, then maybe I can avoid the time, expense, and awkwardness and potential hurt feelings of getting one.
 

  Prefacing with the usual (IANAL, I dont know all the details about your situation etc.).

WA is a community property state. As such, income, assets acquired during your marriage will nominally be community property and would be 50-50 split upon any separation. 

It is not sufficient to simply claim that you had owned certain property prior to your marriage or that a certain property was inherited. You need to keep it absolutely separate from community property with no co-mingling of funds., For example, you say you own "a house that is in my name alone which has a good amount of equity". Is this where you plan to live as a couple. How are you going to pay for the ongoing expenses (e.g., tax, maintenance, insurance, mortgage etc.) for this house after marriage? Recall, your income after marriage will be community property.

mxmaniac said:    We have no shared accounts or things purchased together (though she would pay a small amount of rent each month). I plan to keep separate accounts once we are married as well.
 

  Are you seriously going charge her rent on a house that you own and that both of you plan to reside in together as a married couple?

If you really want to protect your assets and not make this any more awkward, here is a better way to go about this. Sell your house and put the equity in a trust, or at least in an individual investment account. Get a new house (rental or owned) to live in as a couple and share the expenses of that house in whatever way the two of you consider fair/appropriate.

You know OP if you are this paranoid, maybe ... don't get married and get the milk for free?

Most of those 'nightmare prenups' is in California.

Look at Alan Thicke, he has an iron clad prenup but his wife (2nd) is trying to get more.
Look at Britney, no prenup (all her assets were before she got married) and after she got divorced, it made a lot of lawyers money.

If you can get a prenup, get one, it might ruin your relationship though, and that's a sign that it wouldn't last anyhow.

Seriously... DONT get Married.

If you have to ask, then get one.

IANAL, but I followed the advice that I give and have given this to others. Irrevocable trust will protect you better than a pre-nup. Pre-nups can be thrown out, irrevocable trusts cannot. You will need to see an elder law lawyer for that. One can say, if you need a pre-nup or a irrevocable trust, then you shouldn't get married. Two issues here. One, you have significantly more assets than she does. Two, the person you marry is not necessarily the person you divorce. In most cases the wife will go after your assets like a bat out of hell. Remember, no fury like a woman scorned. In this day an age, it's better to be safe than sorry. If she will not sign a pre-nup, then she's only marrying you for your resources. Worst case scenario ,you can always find another wife. Can you rebuild your assets back up again with ease if she takes 50%? Keep in mind, once you co-mingle, it becomes a marital asset. Eventually, this will happen. This is why an irrevocable trust AND a pre-nup is beneficial. Getting married in a community property state (aside from Texas) is rolling the dice. Not sure why you are getting by marriage anyway. Also, if your marriage is less than six months out, the pre-nup could be contested and thrown out. It's best to do it with at least a year prior to the contract signing. You do realize you are entering in a contract with your soon to be wife AND the great state of Washington.. Don't you? Why not a domestic partnership? If she loves you for you and not your assets and security, then it shouldn't be an issue. There was a time love was blind, but not anymore...

Stay safe my friend.

IANAL, but I followed the advice that I give and have given this to others. Irrevocable trust will protect you better than a pre-nup. Pre-nups can be thrown out, irrevocable trusts cannot. You will need to see an elder law lawyer for that. One can say, if you need a pre-nup or a irrevocable trust, then you shouldn't get married. Two issues here. One, you have significantly more assets than she does. Two, the person you marry is not necessarily the person you divorce. In most cases the wife will go after your assets like a bat out of hell. Remember, no fury like a woman scorned. In this day an age, it's better to be safe than sorry. If she will not sign a pre-nup, then she's only marrying you for your resources. Worst case scenario ,you can always find another wife. Can you rebuild your assets back up again with ease if she takes 50%? Keep in mind, once you co-mingle, it becomes a marital asset. Eventually, this will happen. This is why an irrevocable trust AND a pre-nup is beneficial. Getting married in a community property state (aside from Texas) is rolling the dice. Not sure why you are getting by marriage anyway. Also, if your marriage is less than six months out, the pre-nup could be contested and thrown out. It's best to do it with at least a year prior to the contract signing. You do realize you are entering in a contract with your soon to be wife AND the great state of Washington.. Don't you? Why not a domestic partnership? If she loves you for you and not your assets and security, then it shouldn't be an issue. There was a time love was blind, but not anymore...

Stay safe my friend.

I got divorced in Hawaii.  In that state, assets that are brought into the marriage go back unencumbered to the person that brought them in upon divorce, assuming that those assets can be accounted for of course.  Assets that are acquired after the date of marriage (including, in many cases, pensions) are considered part of the marital estate and are apportioned according to the judge's instructions.

Every state is different, and what I just described was from 2011.  It might be different now.

My advice:  Don't get married.  This is the 21st century.  There was a time when if you wanted dependable access to sex and companionship, you had to be married, but that's not true anymore.  Why would you take the financial and legal risk of marriage if you don't have to?

If you are determined to get married, then account for your assets and get a prenup.  It will protect both of you.  If she refuses, then she's either financially stupid (and you shouldn't marry her) or she has other designs (and you shouldn't marry her).  IMHO of course.

rufflesinc said:   You know OP if you are this paranoid, maybe ... don't get married and get the milk for free?
  Usually I think ruffles is a jackass. However this time he is spot on. 

Pre-nup is not paranoia. My DW brought it up when we were engaged as we both had significant assets coming in. I took it as a sign of financial knowledge & maturity that we could discuss it rationally.

In the end, we ended up not doing it, but it was helpful to discuss and come to that conclusion together.

fwuser12 said:   
mxmaniac said:   I realize this is really a question for a lawyer and not an online forum, and that there may be many variables in different states (I am in WA), but I figured I would ask since there are some smart people on here that may have experience with this.

I'm getting married soon.  I have significantly more assets than my future wife, including a house that is in my name alone which has a good amount of equity, property which was inherited from my family, and money in my own separate account.  We have no shared accounts or things purchased together (though she would pay a small amount of rent each month). I plan to keep separate accounts once we are married as well.
While I am fully confident that this marriage will work, and have no doubts about it, I feel the need to play things safe and be protected.  I have heard too many stories about people getting divorced, and the woman takes 50-80% of everything the man had.

However upon trying to read up on the subject, I hear mixed things.  For example I've heard money/property which was inherited might be protected.  I've also heard that prenups may be designed to protect "property acquired during marriage", but I'm not quite sure the status of property acquired before marriage.
Ultimately, I'm just trying to get an idea if my existing assets in my own name are at risk.  If all my assets are reasonably protected, and a prenup wouldn't make much difference, then maybe I can avoid the time, expense, and awkwardness and potential hurt feelings of getting one.

  Prefacing with the usual (IANAL, I dont know all the details about your situation etc.).

WA is a community property state. As such, income, assets acquired during your marriage will nominally be community property and would be 50-50 split upon any separation. 

It is not sufficient to simply claim that you had owned certain property prior to your marriage or that a certain property was inherited. You need to keep it absolutely separate from community property with no co-mingling of funds., For example, you say you own "a house that is in my name alone which has a good amount of equity". Is this where you plan to live as a couple. How are you going to pay for the ongoing expenses (e.g., tax, maintenance, insurance, mortgage etc.) for this house after marriage? Recall, your income after marriage will be community property.

  
How does that work exactly if you have a home pre-marriage (and cite it even in a prenup), but then sell it (and thus receive 'income' so to speak? Would you then be screwed because you sold it during marriage and thus the income acquired (even though it was from a personal asset) is now considered "community"?

All I can say is I'm incredibly thankful to be on the same level as my wife when we got married. I would hate to go through this shit along with the drama of "OMG You're making me sign a prenup? You don't love me?!"

sounds about right

justignoredem said:   How does that work exactly if you have a home pre-marriage (and cite it even in a prenup), but then sell it (and thus receive 'income' so to speak? Would you then be screwed because you sold it during marriage and thus the income acquired (even though it was from a personal asset) is now considered "community"?
 

  If you keep the house (acquired pre-marriage) completely separate from your marital assets and same with the proceeds of the sale of said house, I believe you will be fine (in terms of claiming that asset, or the proceeds of its sale, being a non-marital asset). Problems usually arise when you co-mingle marital and pre-marital assets. If it is a rental property and you pay for the house (mortagage, tax, maintenance etc.) from the rental income) completely from the rental income, you could reasonably claim that it is not part of a marital asset.

For example, if you use your income during marriage for the upkeep of the house acquired prior to marriage, it could become murky. This is particularly true if the upkeep helped increase the value of the house.

However, your salaried income, including 401k, pension, IRA will be considered community property, at least to the extent contributions were made to those accounts during your marriage. When you designate beneficiaries to say your 401k account or even a life insurance policy, you cannot make someone other than your spouse more than a 50% beneficiary, without your spouse's consent.

Again, this is my general understanding. IANAL.

Let's see.., ask a bunch of people on the Internet that might have some knowledge or think they do .... or see a lawyer????

That being said some of the people have presented their life experiences that might be helpful but you situation may be different?

tightpapa said:   Let's see.., ask a bunch of people on the Internet that might have some knowledge or think they do .... or see a lawyer????

That being said some of the people have presented their life experiences that might be helpful but you situation may be different?

  Its helps weed out lawyers who are clueless. more information is almost always better. these life experiences def help
 



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