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 Antenuptial Contracts

These are agreements for persons planning to be married. They include disclosure of each person’s income, assets and liabilities. They also spell out the financial expectations of each person. Minnesota Statute 519.11 describes some requirements. Minnesota courts have reviewed such contracts when disputes have arisen.

It is wise to begin discussing each person’s financial situation and expectations well before the wedding. Full disclosure is needed. Many find it difficult to share all this information. It is best to share credit reports, financial statements and even past divorce documents.

Each person needs to have independent legal representation. The agreement often specifies that certain provisions will be made in the case of divorce or death. One must know how this compares to the default situation - that is - without any agreement. What are the “rights” of a spouse in the case of a divorce or death?

Children from a prior marriage may be wary of this new marriage. Will they be as included and loved as before? Will the survivor of the couple inherit everything and then leave all the property to his or her children? By completing an agreement, the children can be assured that the parent has made arrangements to reduce or avoid conflicts.

Once the parties are married, it is wise to sign new Wills or Trusts. These would, of course, follow the terms of the Antenuptial Contract, and each person normally consents to the Will or Trust.