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GET AHEAD OF YOUR ESTATE PLANNING

1. No matter your net worth, it’s important to have a basic estate plan in place.

Such a plan ensures that your family and financial goals are met after you die.

2. An estate plan has several elements.

They include: a will; assignment of power of attorney; and a health care directive (medical power of attorney). For some people, a trust may also make sense. When putting together a plan, you must be mindful of both federal and state laws governing estates.

3. Taking inventory of your assets is a good place to start.

Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests. Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you’re ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself?

4. Everybody needs a will.

A will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It’s also the best place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a will, also known as dying “intestate” can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die.

5. Trusts aren’t just for the wealthy.

Trusts are legal mechanisms that let you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay and publicity of probate court, which administers wills. Some also offer greater protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits.

6. Discussing your estate plans with your heirs may prevent disputes or confusion.

Inheritance can be a loaded issue. By being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you’re gone.

7. The federal estate tax exemption — the amount you may leave to heirs free of federal tax — is now set permanently at $5 million indexed for inflation.

In 2013, estates under $5.25 million are exempt from the tax. Amounts above that are taxed up to a top rate of 40%.

8. You may leave an unlimited amount of money to your spouse tax-free, but this isn’t always the best tactic.

By leaving all your assets to your spouse, you don’t use your estate tax exemption and instead increase your surviving spouse’s taxable estate. That means your children are likely to pay more in estate taxes if your spouse leaves them the money when he or she dies. Plus, it defers the tough decisions about the distribution of your assets until your spouse’s death.

9. There are two easy ways to give gifts tax-free and reduce your estate.

You may give up to $14,000 a year to an individual (or $28,000 if you’re married and giving the gift with your spouse). You may also pay an unlimited amount of medical and education bills for someone if you pay the expenses directly to the institutions where they were incurred.

10. There are ways to give charitable gifts that keep on giving.

If you donate to a charitable gift fund or community foundation, your investment grows tax-free and you can select the charities to which contributions are given both before and after you die.

ADVANTAGES OF PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

YOU CAN GAIN CONTROL OVER YOUR FUTURE FINANCIAL SITUATION

If you do not sign a prenup, your marriage will be governed by a complex set of laws. In California, these laws are the California Family Code and Probate Code. The choice is between a set of rules negotiated by you and your fiancé, or those imposed by the State, over which you will have no control. And remember, prenups can be drafted to protect both spouses, not just a wealthy spouse. With a prenup you have the choice to manage and divide your fiances as you please.

YOU WILL LEARN TO COMMUNICATE TO YOUR PARTNER ABOUT MONEY ISSUES

Through the process of your prenup, you may find that it will in fact strengthen your marriage.The process requires a full disclosure of your financial situation and involves an open and honest discussion about how you will handle your money and plan your future. One psychiatrist states: “Openly agreed-upon rules are likely to be a better foundation for growth than are those latent rules that surface and prove to be either disagreeable or downright outrageous.

Also, prenups prepare you for marriage. Sooner or later you and your spouse are going to have to talk about money. Going into the marriage knowing what to expect is comforting and responsible. This eliminates conflict in the areas in the marriage that are covered in a prenuptial agreement.

PRENUPS CAN PROVIDE A PEACE OF MIND

No one plans on their house burning down, ending up in a nursing home, or suffering a disability, but they still take out insurance. As Dr. Ruth says: “We live in such a litigious society. Nobody knows what life brings. Hopefully we will never need it. What’s the big deal? Let’s do it and give it to the attorneys…for the new millennium, a prenup is part of a mature relationship, based on love, mutual trust and optimism.”

LIMITATIONS OF PRENUPS

California prenups cannot regulate child custody or child support – these are areas that are left to the court’s authority based on what is in the child’s best interests and, at least in part on the California child support guidelines. Child support is a child’s right, not a parents, so parents cannot contract away a child’s right to support.

AGREEMENTS PERTAINING TO SPOUSAL SUPPORT

California law allows you to waive or limit spousal support as long as the provision is not deemed unconscionable (unreasonably unfair). It’s hard to know exactly what a court will consider “unconscionable,” but, for example, let’s say a prenup contains a complete prohibition on spousal support, and one spouse to the contract has substantially more assets and income. If that spouse tries to enforce the spousal support waiver after a long-term marriage, and the provision would leave the other spouse destitute, a judge may think twice before upholding that agreement.

If there is a significant difference in the amount of wealth between the spouses, instead of completely waiving spousal support, one alternative is to place limits on the amount and duration of support. The amount and duration can be based on a formula which takes into account the income of the parties and the duration of the marriage.

HOW DO PRENUPS AFFECT COMMUNITY PROPERTY

In the absence of a prenup, California community property law provides that all community property (any property acquired during the marriage that is not a gift or an inheritance) is divided equally upon divorce. It usually doesn’t matter if the property is in one party’s name – if it is acquired during marriage, with some exceptions, it is community property.

Property owned before marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance is considered “separate property” – which means it belongs exclusively to the spouse that acquired it and doesn’t fall under the 50/50 community property rule. However, efforts to improve, enhance, or contribute to separate property can create a community property interest in that separate property. This is where a prenup can come into play. A prenup can provide that your spouse never acquires a community interest in your separate property.

If you don’t have a prenup, the determination of what is separate and what is community property often requires the use of forensic accountants that can trace dates of purchase, purchase prices, contributions, and increases or decreases in value over time. In high-asset cases, the accounting and legal fees over these matters can run into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.

Furthermore, earnings are community property. If you married without a prenup and earned $50,000,000 during your marriage, that entire sum would be community property. That means your spouse would own one-half of that property and anything purchased with that property.

A prenup can regulate all aspects of how separate and community property assets and liabilities are treated. In the case of a financially independent couple with their own resources, a prenup can provide that all income, assets and debts acquired or incurred remain separate property. On the other hand, a couple might agree that all property accumulated during the marriage remain community property but that certain property brought into the marriage, such as family businesses or funds, always remains separate. Since each situation is different, a prenup should be carefully tailored to meet the circumstances of each couple. Prenuptial Agreements are for everyone and can be personalized for each and every couple to fit their specific needs.

HOW DOES CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY WORK?

Many people contemplating filing bankruptcy want to know what is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is the single most common bankruptcy chapter filed in the United States. Chapter 7 refers to the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code which can be found in Title 11 of the United States Code. Chapter 7, commonly known as liquidation bankruptcy, involves the sale of a debtor’s non-exempt assets by a trustee. Any proceeds obtained by the bankruptcy trustee are then turned over to creditors.

PREPARATION

Prior to the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you (the debtor) should gather together all of his financial records in order to fill out the bankruptcy petition, schedules, statement of financial affairs and other documents. This includes bank statements, credit card statements, loan documents, pay stubs and other financial records. It is critical to have proof that the financial information the debtor puts on his bankruptcy documents matches their financial records. By having all of the records at hand, a debtor can quickly and efficiently comply with any requests by the trustee to verify your information.

COMPLETING BANKRUPTCY DOCUMENTS

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the completion of numerous documents. These documents are usually available as a packet from the bankruptcy court clerk’s office for a fee. Broadly, these documents include the voluntary petition for relief, the schedule of assets and liabilities, declarations regarding debtor education and the statement of financial affairs.  These documents require the debtor to open up their financial life to the bankruptcy court, which includes a listing of all of their property, debts, creditors, income, expenses and property transfers, among other things. Upon the completion of all of the bankruptcy documents, a debtor must file the documents with the clerk of the bankruptcy court and pay a filing fee.

MEANS TEST

A debtor must also successfully pass the means test calculation, which is another document that must be completed prior to filing for bankruptcy. This test, which was added to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005, calculates whether you are able to afford, or have the “means” to pay your debts. The means test analyzes your income for the past six months and compares it with the median income for your place of residence. The means test also includes your secured debt in determining whether you can afford to pay for your debts. If you fail to pass the means test, you can only file Chapter 7 bankruptcy under very specialized exceptions. The means test has drawn criticism since its inception.

MEETING OF CREDITORS

After a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, the court will issue a document giving notice of a debtor’s Meeting of Creditors. This notice is also sent to all of the creditors that are listed within the bankruptcy documents. During the Meeting of Creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will ask the debtor various questions about the bankruptcy, such as whether all of the information contained within the bankruptcy documents are true and correct. The trustee may ask other questions about a debtor’s financial affairs. If the trustee wishes to investigate the bankruptcy further, he may continue your Meeting of Creditors to a future date. On the other hand, the trustee may conclude the meeting on the first meeting. It is important to note that at the Meeting of Creditors, as the name suggests, any creditor may appear and ask a debtor questions about his bankruptcy and finances.

SEIZURE OF ASSETS

If you have any non-exempt property, the bankruptcy trustee has the ability to seize and sell the property. Exemptions refer to federal or state statutes which allow a debtor to keep certain types of property from seizure in bankruptcy or to satisfy a judgment. For example, exemptions exist to protect retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) plan. Exemptions must be set forth in Schedule C, a bankruptcy document filed by the debtor. Any assets that the trustee can recover are distributed to creditors.

DISCHARGE

If the trustee, nor any creditor objects to the debtor’s discharge, the bankruptcy court will automatically give the debtor a discharge at some point after the last day to object. The last day to file a complaint objecting to a debtor’s discharge is 60 days after the first session of the Meeting of Creditors. If there are no complaints are filed, the discharge is usually entered days later. The discharge prevents creditors from attempting to collect any debt against the debtor, personally, that arose prior to the filing of the bankruptcy. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the discharge effectively wipes out debts. However, it is important to note that not all debts are dischargeable, including, but not limited to certain taxes, student loans and child or spousal support obligations.

WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?

Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own like your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common, you can’t take it with you when you die.

When that happens, and it is a matter of “when” and not an “if”, you probably want to control how those things are distributed to the people and/or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating who you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.

Estate planning is making a plan in advance and stating who you want to receive your belongings you own after you die. However, good estate planning is much more than that. It should also include:

  • Instructions for passing your values like religion, education and hard work in addition to your valuables.
  • Instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
  • Name a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
  • Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
  • Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
  • Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury.
  • Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
  • Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
  • Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.

 ESTATE PLANNING IS FOR EVERYONE

Estate Planning is not just for the “retired” or the “wealthy” people. Although people tend to start considering estate planning as they become older or when they own a substantial amount of money or property. Unfortunately, we cannot predict the length of our lives, illnesses arise and accidents happen to people of all ages. Estate Planning is for people with modest assets as well as those with substantial assets. People with modest assets with estate planning now are able to preserve what they have for their families rather than subject it to the state. As you can see, Estate planning is for everyone, preserve your hard earned money and protect your properties now with Estate Planning.

TOO MANY PEOPLE DON’T PLAN
Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re busy, think they have plenty of time, they’re confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.

If you don’t have a plan, your state has one for you, but you probably won’t like it.
At disability: If your name is on the title of your assets and you can’t conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a conservatorship or guardianship (depending on the term used in your state). It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to end even if you recover.

At your death: If you die without an intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws in your state. In many states, if you are married and have children, your spouse and children will each receive a share. That means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your estate, which may not be enough to live on. If you have minor children, the court will control their inheritance. If both parents die (i.e., in a car accident), the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen.

Given the choice—and you do have the choice—wouldn’t you prefer these matters be handled privately by your family, not by the courts? Wouldn’t you prefer to keep control of who receives what and when? And, if you have young children, wouldn’t you prefer to have a say in who will raise them if you can’t?

AN ESTATE PLAN BEGINS WITH A WILL OR LIVING TRUST
A will provides your instructions, but it does not avoid probate. Any assets titled in your name or directed by your will must go through your state’s probate process before they can be distributed to your heirs. The process varies greatly from state to state, but it can become expensive with legal fees, executor fees, and court costs. It can also take anywhere from nine months to two years or longer. With rare exception, probate files are open to the public and excluded heirs are encouraged to come forward and seek a share of your estate. In short, the court system, not your family, controls the process.

Not everything you own will go through probate. Jointly-owned property and assets that let you name a beneficiary (for example, life insurance, IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, etc.) are not controlled by your will and usually will transfer to the new owner or beneficiary without probate. But there are many problems with joint ownership, and avoidance of probate is not guaranteed. For example, if a valid beneficiary is not named, the assets will have to go through probate and will be distributed along with the rest of your estate. If you name a minor as a beneficiary, the court will probably insist on a guardianship until the child legally becomes an adult.

For these reasons a revocable living trust is preferred by many families and professionals. It can avoid probate at death, prevent court control of assets at incapacity, bring all of your assets together into one plan, provide maximum privacy, is valid in every state, and can be changed by you at any time. It can also reflect your love and values to your family and future generations.

Unlike a will, a trust doesn’t have to die with you. Assets can stay in your trust, managed by the trustee you selected, until your beneficiaries reach the age you want them to inherit. Your trust can continue longer to provide for a loved one with special needs, or to protect the assets from beneficiaries’ creditors, spouses, and irresponsible spending.

A living trust is more expensive initially than a will, but considering it can avoid court interference at incapacity and death, many people consider it to be a bargain.

PLANNING YOUR ESTATE WILL HELP YOU ORGANIZE YOUR RECORDS AND CORRECT TITLES AND BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS.
Would your family know where to find your financial records, titles, and insurance policies if something happened to you? Planning your estate now will help you organize your records, locate titles and beneficiary designations, and find and correct errors.

Most people don’t give much thought to the wording they put on titles and beneficiary designations. You may have good intentions, but an innocent error can create all kinds of problems for your family at your disability and/or death. Beneficiary designations are often out of date or otherwise invalid. Naming the wrong beneficiary on your tax-deferred plan can lead to devastating tax consequences. It is much better for you to take the time to do this correctly now than for your family to pay an attorney to try to fix things later.

ESTATE PLANNING DOES NOT HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE
If you don’t think you can afford a complex estate plan now, start with what you can afford. For a young family or single adult, that may mean a will, term life insurance, and powers of attorney for your assets and health care decisions. Then, let your planning develop and expand as your needs change and your financial situation improves. Don’t try to do this yourself to save money. An experienced attorney will be able to provide critical guidance and peace of mind that your documents are prepared properly.

THE BEST TIME TO PLAN YOUR ESTATE IS NOW
None of us really likes to think about our own mortality or the possibility of being unable to make decisions for ourselves. This is exactly why so many families are caught off-guard and unprepared when incapacity or death does strike. Don’t wait. You can put something in place now and change it later…which is exactly the way estate planning should be done.

THE BEST BENEFIT IS PEACE OF MIND
Knowing you have a properly prepared plan in place – one that contains your instructions and will protect your family – will give you and your family peace of mind. This is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love.

 

ENFORCEABILITY OF PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

In 1976 the California Supreme Court in the landmark decision of In Re Marriage of Dawley in which California’s Supreme
Court recognized that prenuptial agreements that contemplated divorce were not invalid per se and against public policy
but should be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine if they promoted marital breakdown. In 1986 California took
another important step in recognizing the validity of prenuptial agreements by adopting its version of the Uniform Premarital
Agreement Act which was further amended in 2002. This Act is now adopted in twenty four other states. The current version
of California’s Premarital Agreement Act is contained in Family Code sections1600-1617.

In order to ensure its enforceability any attorney drafting a prenuptial agreement (also referred to an antenuptial or
premarital agreement) should be familiar with the provisions of California’s Premarital Agreement Act and the case law.
For prenuptial agreements executed after January 1, 2002, the Family Code provides that an agreement will not be
enforceable if either (1) the agreement was involuntary or (2) the agreement was unconscionable and there was no
adequate disclosure or (3) the agreement violates public policy.

The following general conclusions can be learned from these requirements which are discussed in more detail below:

• Both parties should be represented by independent counsel
• Never wait until just before the wedding to sign a prenuptial agreement
• Always provide full, fair and reasonable disclosure of all income, assets and liabilities of both sides
• Ensure that the agreement is fair and does not leave one party without any means of support in the event of divorce

We take pride in efficiently representing clients throughout California who wish to enter into prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The entire process can be handled over the phone. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please fill out our potential client intake questionnaire or contact us at (949) 478-4401.

Initial telephone consultations are free of charge.

California Prenuptial Agreement: Top 3 Misconceptions

In California, property acquired during marriage is presumed to be community property, equally divisible in divorce. The exceptions to this are when property is acquired by gift, bequest, inheritance, or there is a prenuptial agreement in effect.

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between prospective spouses in contemplation of marriage, to be effective upon marriage, that addresses present and future property rights.

Specifically, a California prenuptial agreement is used when a couple wants to avoid or modify the state’s community property law regarding assets already owned by each person, and to property and income acquired during marriage.

Misconception #1: Prenuptial agreements are unfair and unromantic.

In movies involving prenuptial agreements, one party is often trying to take advantage of the other party. The truth is, if a prenuptial agreement is very slanted in favor of one person, the other person will likely object to it during a divorce. Thus, attorneys drafting reasonable prenuptial agreements help their clients avoid problems in the long run.

In actuality, a couple working on a California prenuptial agreement is laying down rules for property and support in case of divorce. Prenuptial agreements are often used to preserve a person’s property rights.

Deciding how your finances will work before marriage may lead to a smoother marriage. Money is something many couples fight about, and it makes sense to discuss how the household finances will work.

As with any other partnership, two people would meet and formulate a plan for handling monthly expenses, financial obligations, savings, and other goals.

Misconception #2: A California prenuptial agreement is too expensive.

To quote a professional who recently got divorced and did not have a prenup, “They are expensive because they are worth it.” The reason prenuptial agreements cost thousands of dollars is that clients are paying for the attorney’s time in negotiating the terms of the prenuptial agreement, as well as the attorney’s signature approving the prenup.

Should a party ever contest the prenuptial agreement, the attorney will likely have to serve as a witness as to events concerning the execution of the agreement.

Misconception #3: Only really wealthy people need a prenup.

Anyone with significant income or with property or possessions valued at $10,000 or more should consider having a prenuptial agreement to protect his/her assets in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can protect an asset from becoming community property, divisible at divorce.

If a party has an asset that is valuable and would like to make sure he or she receives that asset in the event of a divorce, that person should consider a prenuptial agreement. California prenuptial agreements are commonly used by:

1. Two Professionals (e.g. they both have retirement plans and savings that they wish to preserve),

2. People Entering a Second Marriage (e.g. he or she would like to preserve assets for children from a prior relationship), and

3. People Who Inherit/Will Inherit, who would like to make sure the inheritance is preserved for future generations. Unlike an estate plan (e.g. will), prenuptial agreements take effect right away.

We take pride in efficiently representing clients throughout California who wish to enter into prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The entire process can be handled over the phone. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please fill out our potential client intake questionnaire or contact us at (949) 478-4401.

Initial telephone consultations are free of charge.

California Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Information

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you wipe out your debts and get a “Fresh Start”. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation where the trustee collects all of your assets and sells any assets which are not exempt. The trustee sells the assets and pays you, the debtor, any amount exempted. The net proceeds of the liquidation are then distributed to your creditors with a commission taken by the trustee overseeing the distribution.

Certain debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as alimony, child support, fraudulent debts, certain taxes, student loans, and certain items charged. Usually, large credit card debt and other unsecured bills coupled with few assets typify a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filer. In the vast majority of cases this type of bankruptcy is able to completely eliminate all of the filers debts.

You may keep certain secured debts such as your car or your furniture or house by reaffirming those debts. To do so, you must sign a voluntary “Reaffirmation Agreement”. However, you cannot wipe out that debt (or discharge the debt) for another six years. In other words, if you decide that you want to keep your house or your car or your furniture, and you reaffirm the debt, you cannot bankrupt (or wipe-out) that debt again for six years. You will still owe that debt and you must continue to pay it just as you were to continue to pay it before you filed the bankruptcy. In order to reaffirm the debt, you must also bring it current. In other words, if you are three or four months behind, then you must pay the back payments which are due in order to reaffirm it. You can selectively reaffirm your debts – you can state that you wish to keep the house and the furniture, but that you want the car and the jewelry to go back to the respective Creditors.

Reaffirmation agreements can be set aside during the earlier of 60 days after the agreement is filed with the Court, or upon the Court’s issuance of an Order of Discharge.

What are the legal requirements of a prenup?

The following is a list of requirements for the drafting of a valid prenuptial agreement in California. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but the bare minimum. If you would like to enter into a prenuptial agreement, you should consult with an attorney well versed in what California law says about prenuptial agreements.

1. A prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.

2. The agreement must be executed “voluntarily.”

3. Prior to the signing of the prenuptial agreement, a full disclosure of property and financial obligations of both parties must be made.

4. Either both parties must be represented by counsel or the party without counsel must acknowledge in a separate writing that he/she was advised to seek independent counsel and expressly waived the same.

5. The party presented with the prenuptial agreement must be given seven days from the initial presentation of the agreement to the date of execution of the agreement. (recent case law has determined that the 7 day waiting period does not apply if both parties are represented.)

6. If one party is unrepresented by counsel then he/she must be fully informed of the legal effect of the terms of the agreement and acknowledge in a separate signed document having understood the rights and/or obligations he/she is giving up by entering into the agreement.

7. If a spousal support is included in the prenup, the spouse against whom enforcement may be sought must be represented by independent counsel or the provision will be unenforceable. This applies even if there is an express waiver of independent counsel.

The best way to enter into a prenup that you can be confident will withstand attack is to require that your soon to be spouse has independent counsel. My office will not even draft a prenup for a client unless the other party is represented by his/her own attorney on the drafting and negotiating of the prenup. It’s just too easy for an unrepresented party to appeal to a court to invalidate a prenup. Better safe than sorry.

We take pride in efficiently representing clients throughout California who wish to enter into prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The entire process can be handled over the phone. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please fill out our potential client intake questionnaire or contact us at (949) 478-4401.

Initial telephone consultations are free of charge.

Six situations in which you may need a prenup

Disparate assets: If one party is coming into the marriage with a home and an investment account, the agreement can spell out whether those assets will be kept separate or how they’d be taken into account in the event of a split.

Disparate debts: Although young couples may have fewer assets to split,they may often have debts. If one party has significant obligations, the prenuptial agreement can keep the debts separate too.

Vastly disparate income: While earning more or less than your spouse generally isn’t an issue while you’re married, due to a presumption that both people share and give alike. But in the event of a split, a prenuptial agreement can set a limit — either a minimum or a maximum — on the amount the higher-wage earner pays or the lower-wage earner would get.

Second marriages: Prenuptial agreements can also dictate who pays which expenses for children from previous marriages. They also can outline how both partners’ assets will be split at death (as well as in a divorce).

Business ownership: If one or both parties have a small business, a prenuptial agreement is warranted. It protects the business’ assets and protects the non-owner spouse from potential business liabilities.

Inheritances: If you know you are going to come into some money or other inheritance assets, it is encouraged to be prepared to prevent the assets from being commingled with the marital assets to keep his or her ownership intact. Under California law,inherited property is seperate property however, depending on how its managed or commingled with marital assets,it can become community property. A prenuptial agreement can spell out how you maintain your separate interest in what you acquire and bring peace of mind to a family concerned about leaving an inheritance to an heir. The prenup can provide assurance the property will stay in the family.

We take pride in efficiently representing clients throughout California who wish to enter into prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The entire process can be handled over the phone. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please fill out our potential client intake questionnaire or contact us at (949) 478-4401.

Initial telephone consultations are free of charge.

Blog

14/08/2014

GET AHEAD OF YOUR ESTATE PLANNING

1. No matter your net worth, it’s important to have a basic estate plan in place. Such a plan ensures that your family and financial


08/08/2014

ADVANTAGES OF PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

YOU CAN GAIN CONTROL OVER YOUR FUTURE FINANCIAL SITUATION If you do not sign a prenup, your marriage will be governed by a complex set


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