Posted by Clizia Motterle, Solicitor
Why are silver-nups so important when remarrying?
Many people are choosing to remarry later in life. And why shouldn’t they, when we are living longer and with a better quality of life in our later years?
It is however important to stop and think about the financial consequences of walking down the aisle once again, especially when there are children from a previous marriage whose inheritance you want to protect.
In waltzes the “silver-nup”, a pre-nuptial agreement which has been carefully tailored to the requirements of couples remarrying later in life. Pre-nuptial agreements (pre-nups) have become more and more common in the last decade, and are increasingly recognised and upheld by the courts as legally binding provided certain requirements are met. No longer the exclusive domain of the rich and famous, pre-nups have also started to shake off the unromantic aura they had a few years ago. More and more people are seeing them for what they are – a very useful way to protect their financial position.
How silver-nups work in real life
Most of us would think about changing our Wills after a second marriage to make sure we protect our children’s inheritance, but a pre-nup agreement may not be such an obvious task on the wedding planning list.
Without a new Will, a second wife or husband would receive most of the inheritance if their spouse dies, and it would be down to the surviving partner to do what’s morally right and give part of their inheritance to their partner’s children. But in reality this may not always happen and the prospect of a legal battle against the surviving spouse is not likely to be that appealing for the children either.
Key points for an effective pre- or silver-nup
To have credibility and stand up in court, it is important that the agreement is fair and that both parties sign it freely and having appreciated its full implications – independent legal advice is often crucial to provide evidence of this.
It is also helpful to attach to the pre-nup a list of the assets owned by each party, so that it is clear that each spouse knows what he/she is giving up/obtaining by signing, so you should not be surprised if your solicitor asks you to provide this information when drafting a pre-nup.
An ideal situation
The time has come for the pre-nup (silver-nup, or otherwise) to become an essential part of the wedding preparations. Time should be taken to get some advice from a family solicitor. Couples need to have a frank conversation with each other as to which children should inherit what sums / items retained from the previous marriage.
Get Wills drawn up stating your intentions and also get a pre-nup agreement clearly stating which assets will not be pooled together, and what will continue to be owned by each party after the marriage.
There is nothing unromantic about a pre-nup – in the same way as making a Will will not drive you to an early grave, making a pre-nup detracts nothing from the commitment you are making to your future spouse! Take control of the way in which your finances should be split and protect your children’s inheritance.
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