Many Pennsylvania residents enter into prenuptial negotiations because they want to go into their marriage with a clear understanding about how assets would be handled in the event of a divorce. There are cases, however, where it is not the prospective spouses but their families that insist that a prenuptial agreement be put into place prior to the marriage. That may seem like an overbearing approach, but families who take this stance do so out of concern for their loved ones, and a desire to protect against significant losses in the event that a property division process should become necessary down the line.
When a family plans to pass down a high volume of wealth through an inheritance, family members have an interest in protecting that wealth. Statistics suggest that nearly half of all marriages will eventually fail. Without proper protections, and depending on state law, spouses can lose a significant portion of inherited wealth in a divorce. That outcome is simply not acceptable to the family members who plan to hand down sizable assets.
In many cases, estate planning documents are written to include a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement as a condition of receiving an inheritance. This allows the intended recipient to make a decision about whether he or she would like to include a prenup while preparing to wed. If the decision is made to forgo a marital contract, then the intended inheritance could be held in trust or distributed to other heirs.
It should be noted that in virtually all cases, the insistence on a prenuptial agreement is not a statement about the “chances” that a couple has of a lasting and happy marriage. It is nothing more than a financial planning tactic, and one that is based in the reality of a high rate of divorce and the crushing outcome of property division. The hope of everyone involved is that the Pennsylvania couple has a long and fulfilling union, and that both spouses are able to share in the benefits of inherited wealth.
Source: wealthmanagement.com, “Seven Tips For Managing Sibling Wealth Disparity“, Doug Baumoel and Blair Trippe, June 29, 2017