If You Have a Prenuptial Agreement, You Also Need an Estate Plan

prenuptial agreement, writing a will, establishing a trust, your estate plan, Naperville estate planning attorneyWe will all be separated from our families some day, in one way or another. The preferred method of separation is dying of old age, after we have provided for our family’s future by writing a will or establishing a trust. In this day and age though, when more than half of all marriages end in divorce, the preferred method might not happen. This high probability of divorce had led an increasing number of couples to the prenup, or prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract entered into voluntarily before marriage. The agreement will typically outline how marital and non-marital property should be divided if the couple divorces or separates. However, be wary of relying solely on a prenup for asset division. While you might not expect your marriage to last, what if it does? Or what if you or your spouse dies young (and you had a happy marriage)? There are too many contingencies not to have an estate plan in place.

A will and a prenup can coexist harmoniously. When you sit down with your attorney to discuss an estate plan, be sure he or she is aware of the prenup’s contents. It is certainly possibly for the contents of one to not contradict the contents of the other. In fact, having both a prenup and an estate plan will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Just keep in mind that you must update your estate plan when major life events occur to ensure that it always reflects your wishes.

How to Revise an Attested Will

Once your will has been attested, it can be altered. But it is not as simple as crossing out terms or making written additions in the margins. If not altered properly, your modifications will have no legal effect. The will can only be revised by the testator or by someone in the testator’s presence with his direction and consent. Furthermore, the revised will must be signed and attested in the same manner as the originally executed will, following these guidelines:

  1. The will, as well as any alterations, must be in writing;
  2. The will, including a revised will, must be signed by the testator or by a person in his presence and by his direction; and
  3. The will, including a revised will, must be attested in the presence of the testator by at least two credible witnesses.

A credible witness does not include someone who is named as a beneficiary in either the original will or in the revised will.

Your estate plan likely includes more than a will. For example, you might also have a life insurance policy or a trust independent of the terms of your will. It is a good idea to update everything at once. An experienced Naperville estate planning attorney will ensure that none of your wishes fall through the cracks. Contact us today for a consultation, and in the future, be sure to make us aware of any major life events – such as divorce or childbirth – that would necessitate an update of your estate plan.