Getting married with kids...trust, will or prenup?

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that you should do if you are getting married and have children and have property is to prepare a prenuptial agreement.  If you do not have a marital agreement then the marriage may cause some of your property to be transferred to your new spouse and his/her family.  The reason for this is that there are many laws established to protect spouses.  For example, probate laws usually require at least half of your property (estate) be transferred to your surviving spouse upon your death.  Divorce laws often do the same upon termination of a marriage.  In states with community property laws a spouse may obtain a half interest in any real estate when that property is purchased.  The result of all these different types of laws is that upon marriage half of your property may end up with the new spouse or her/his heirs.

If this is a first marriage and if you have little or no property, then such a result may work to your advantage.  But if you have obtained some assets and have children with the other parent of those children who is not the person you are marrying, then having half or more of your property end up with another person and his/her family could be a devastating result.

I am know a family in Fort Collins where that occurred.  This was a family who had a farm in Larimer County.  Mother, father, and several sons farmed it for decades.  The sons then went onto other careers.  Eventually mother and father sold the farm for more that a million dollars and retired.  While in their seventies mother died.  Father remarried a younger woman.  The newlyweds took the million dollars

Posted on April 26, 2014 .