Planning your Estate: Cohabitation and Prenuptial Agreements

You have likely heard of Cohabitation and Prenuptial Agreements. These types of agreements are seen by some as distasteful because they appear to anticipate the ending of the spousal relationship. Distasteful or not, it is important to realize that relationships fall apart for many reasons – not all of them within your control – and it is wise to think about preserving any assets you may bring in to the spousal relationship.

Entering into a common law relationship or a marriage impacts all aspects of your life, including your estate.  Most people realize that their assets may be at risk if their spousal relationship ends, but may not realize that a spouse could have a claim to your pension or could be entitled to a portion of your estate if you die without a Will.

You may want to preserve your assets because you have children from a prior relationship or because you have built a lot of equity in your home or business. For whatever reason, a Cohabitation or Prenuptial Agreement may be useful estate planning documents for you and there is benefit to having an open conversation with your future spouse to clarify your expectations about how your assets will be dealt with going forward.

A properly drafted Cohabitation Agreement or Prenuptial Agreement should protect both your and your spouse’s assets and help the two of you to best plan for your future and your estates.  At our office, we consider these types of agreements an opportunity for couples to establish a clear understanding of their financial expectations and a solid foundation for building a life together.

If you are considering getting a Cohabitation or Prenuptial Agreement, it is best to meet with a legal expert to make sure you have a thorough agreement that best fits your personal circumstances.