Prenuptial Agreements, Marriage, and Your Estate Plans

Wedding Rings are prenuptials are now both part of wedding planningEven the Wall Street Journal is breezily telling people about prenuptial agreements: why, how, and how to bulletproof them.

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Sign Here" appeared in the July 6, 2010 WSJ, and we think that story does a very good job providing generic, US-wide information.

Reporter Mary Pilon covers the topics of to Prenup or Not Prenup, Beyond the Prenup, and When to Propose a Prenup. (Read the article online)

We think Mary's has good information to get you to start thinking about how an upcoming wedding will change your estate plans, including the future division of property, retirement plans, and the transfer of assets to other family members and to the next generation.

I Do's and I Don'ts, California Style

Here are some California twists to the Journal's list of Do's and Don't's


  • Have each party represented by a lawyer.
    In California if only one party has a lawyer or both parties have the same lawyer, the Prenup will be invalid!
  • Start talking about drafting the agreement several months before the wedding.
    Try to sign the agreement a month ahead of the wedding. To be valid in California a Prenup must be signed at least 7 days before the wedding.
  • Consider enlisting the help of a marriage counselor, financial planner, or accountant
    Each party must list all assets and debts.


  • Hide any assets from a future spouse.
    Don't hide any debts, either!
  • Include things that could violate state laws, such as child-support payments.
    "... such as the waiver of child-support payments."

Of course, every state has different family law codes, and marriage rights and responsibilities vary from state to state. Mary's report was for a national audience and didn't address some California-specific laws.

And, remember, Mary's advice. You cannot use a Prenup as a substitute for a will or estate plan.

In fact, the marriage itself will make most pre-marriage estate planning documents VOID!

When you plan your wedding, don't skimp on planning for its effect on your future financial happiness.

A Prenup will make sure that each spouse knows and understands the couple's complete financial plans. And, an updating of wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents will ensure that both party's wishes are respected.

Please call the Law Offices of Julia Wald at 415.482.7555 now to create the agreements and estate documents you want. Do it now — closer to the date you'll need to concentrate on the wedding cake, guests' food allergies, and the best environmentally friendly alternative to throwing rice.

The Law Offices of Julia P. Wald have no affiliation with any of the organizations in the listed third-party website links and do not make any representations or guarantees about the organizations listed in these web sites links.