There are many different reasons why a soon-to-be-married individual here in Texas may want a prenuptial agreement. One is to protect an inheritance they expect to get in the future.
One thing a person may be worried about in relation to a future inheritance is, if they get the inheritance when they are married and the marriage were to end in divorce, whether they would lose a significant portion of the inheritance to their spouse in the divorce.
How is an inheritance treated in a divorce? Well, in Texas, an inheritance given to one spouse is generally treated as the separate property of that spouse. A person typically does not have to split their separate property with their ex-spouse.
Given this, one might wonder why protecting a potential future inheritance in a prenuptial agreement could be beneficial, given that inheritances are separate property anyways?
The answer to this is that what a married person does with an inheritance after they receive it could impact its status as separate property. Certain actions could result in inheritance proceeds commingling with marital assets, which could cause the proceeds to lose their separate property status and thus to possibly be subject to division in a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement can contain terms aimed at keeping inheritance proceeds out of a divorce property division in this situation or others in which an inheritance’s separate property status could be in danger. So, such an agreement can be used to clarify rights regarding future inheritances.
As this illustrates, there are various different asset protection purposes that prenuptial agreements can be directed towards and a variety of different situations that a person may want a prenuptial agreement to address. Whatever property protection goals a person aims a prenuptial agreement towards, one thing that will generally be very impactful on whether the prenup will be able to help with these goals is whether the prenup’s terms will be enforceable. Skilled Texas family law attorneys can advise individuals in the state who wish to reach a prenuptial agreement with their partner to protect assets guidance on what can be done to help best ensure that a prenuptial agreement will be enforceable.
Source: The Cheat Sheet, “Marriage: 5 Signs You Need a Prenuptial Agreement” Megan Elliot, March 28, 2016