For a variety of reasons, emotional and romantic, prenups
can be a difficult subject for the parties about to marry to discuss, much less have prepared and signed. Contemplating the end of marriage before it has even begun is a big wet rag.
If it's not your own pending nuptials that have you wondering, then you may instead be concerned about your family's assets with regard to your
adult children as they enter into marriage. Through proactive estate planning, you can preserve your family's assets in the event of a divorce, even after you are gone.
One alternative, among others, to a prenup is for a person about to be married to create and fund a Revocable Living Trust. While not as effective as a prenup in the event of a later divorce, the revocable trust provides a relatively easy way to identify and segregate the separate property of someone about to marry, and to permit that spouse to have exclusive control over the property during the marriage.
For example, with real estate owned by a married person (whether it was acquired before or during the marriage) a spouse acquires an interest known as dower. The real estate cannot be sold without both spouses signing the relevant documents (the deed or mortgage). If real estate brought to the marriage is in a revocable trust, the spouse who brought the real estate to the marriage retains complete control of the real estate. He or she can sell without the spouse's participation. Further, assets owned by a revocable trust are outside the jurisdiction of the probate court upon the death of the trust's grantor. The trust agreement will control the disposition of the assets owned by the trust. The spouse does not have a legal right to contest the terms of the trust.
In some cases though, a prenuptial agreement could be particularly useful for those with existing children and remarrying later in life.