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Billions at stake: The importance of a prenup

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is a business mogul. Those who aspire to become giants within the business world would benefit from lessons from this mastermind. Unfortunately, one of the most important lessons he may teach the public is through a mistake in his personal life.

The billionaire recently announced that he is divorcing his wife of over 20 years. Because he did not have a prenuptial agreement, state law may guide the division of assets for one of the richest estates in the country. What does this mean? In most cases, this likely means courts would split the marital assets in half. Since Bezos founded Amazon a year after the marriage, a court would likely consider the asset marital property. As such, it would be subject to division.

Although an extreme example, the lesson is important for everyone entering a marriage. If you do not want the government to control the division of assets in the event of a divorce, take the time to put together a prenuptial agreement.

What can a prenuptial agreement protect? The exact rules governing prenuptial agreements will vary by state. However, some broad rules that apply in the case of most prenups include:

  • Property. Arguably the most well-known benefit of a prenuptial agreement, these legal documents can specifically outline how certain pieces of property are to be distributed in the event of a divorce.
  • Debt. A prenuptial agreement can also include language to limit debt liability.
  • Children. In most cases, a prenuptial agreement cannot include provisions relating to child custody or child support matters. If included, such provisions may not be enforced by a court.

Couples that choose to draft a prenuptial agreement must meet certain criteria in order for the document to be valid. An attorney experienced in these matters can discuss the process and better ensure a prenuptial agreement meets your needs.

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