Wills and Prenuptial Agreements

If you have created a will or a prenuptial agreement and are considering creating the other as well, you may be wondering if there is any point in having both documents and if one of these documents takes priority over the other. If you are hoping to protect your assets and ensure they go to the right people, you should speak with a living will lawyer, like a living will lawyer in Philadelphia, PA. If you already have a will in place and are creating a prenuptial agreement, you likely want to know if you need to amend your will or make note of anything in your prenuptial agreement. A good attorney will answer your questions and guide you to make the right decisions for you and your assets. 

What is a will?

When you want to ensure your assets go to the right people, you will probably create a will. This document allows you to state who you want your property to go to after you die. A will does not go into effect until after you pass away, but they can be very detailed and allow a person to choose what they want to happen to their earthly possessions after they are gone. 

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a document that two people create before they get married. This is an important document because it can lay out the property and debts that each person has before they get married. This can help eliminate future problems if the couple gets divorced. If one spouse dies during the course of a marriage, a prenuptial agreement can also ensure that certain property is transferred to the living spouse. 

What happens if you have both documents and you pass away?

If you have both a will and a prenuptial agreement, often the prenuptial agreement is the document that will take priority when a person passes away. Because of the way a prenuptial agreement is written, it is a binding, legal contract between two people. Thus, if one spouse dies and the other is still alive, a prenuptial agreement still takes priority. 

Are there circumstances where a will would take priority over a prenuptial agreement?

Yes. The first example is known as a “sunset clause.” Many prenuptial agreements contain a sunset clause, which states that after a certain amount of time, the contract ends. Thus, it is possible that a prenuptial agreement can expire and a will takes priority. Additionally, if a court finds that the person who passed away made a prenuptial agreement under duress or force, then the court may find the prenuptial agreement to be invalid and they can enforce the will. 

Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into wills and prenuptial agreements.