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Linda D. States

Wealthy children and prenuptial agreements

California residents who have substantial wealth may be concerned about what would happen to that wealth if their children get married and then divorced. The completion of a prenuptial agreement before a marriage can protect financial assets that are intended to remain in the family.

When approaching this subject with their adult children, parents should be aware that their children will be required to make a full disclosure of all the assets they own. In some cases, this may be the first time that the children have a complete understanding of the family's financial situation.

One legal expert advises that parents should begin discussing the importance of prenuptial agreements with their children when they have reached their late teenage years or their early 20s. The discussion about family finances can be more effective when it takes place before the children give serious thought about getting married. Approaching the subject early-on can also avoid situations in which one may think that the completion of a prenuptial agreement is because of a specific potential husband or wife.

In situations in which the family's wealth or business is spread over multiple generations, the subject of a prenuptial agreement can be addressed in terms of protecting the family's legacy. Instead of ownership, the stewardship of the wealth to ensure that future generations will have the assets would be the main focus of the conversation.

There may be cases in which the children of wealthy parents are steadfast against a prenuptial agreement. However, there are other legal devices, such as trusts, that parents can use to protect the assets that will belong to their children.

An attorney who practices family law may protect the interests and rights of clients who want to complete a prenuptial agreement. The attorney may oversee negotiations regarding the terms of the agreement.

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