Over the years society has evolved quite a bit and people have formed many different types of unions and partnerships including marriage. It may not seem very romantic to discuss it at the time but marriage contracts are extremely important, this is not only because of the possibility of a divorce, but also because of the way marriage contracts can bind people even after they pass away.
Those who want to get married need to seriously weigh up the pros and cons of the different types of marriage contracts. Once you have decided which contract you and your partner would like to go with, pay careful attention to the details, so that if there is a death or a break-up, you will still be protected.
Jeremy Woods, who is the head of Fiduciary Services at Financial advisory firm GTC, says that your pre-nup is an extremely important of your wedding plan. Woods urges you and your partner to very carefully consider their needs and to also review their contracts before you decide to sign, as there are many consequences for couple’s loves together when it comes to the details of a marriage contract.
He says that it is important to take note that the marriage contract can bind you and your partner even after death, even though most couples commit in their vows to stay true to each other until one of them die.
What type of marriage contract is right for you and your partner?
If you get married “in community of property”, this means that all of the liabilities and assets of both spouses, – including those that were accrued before the marriage – are aggregated into one single estate, with an equal share for each person in the marriage.
Woods says that there are also quite a few cases where the deceases partner leaves their spouse with unanticipated debt. And for these reasons many choose to take the more “modern” route and they get married “out of community of property”. “This will allow each partner to have more independence over their personal assets and their wealth accumulation too. This is a lot more relevant now than it was before as more dual income couples are self-employed earners” says Woods.
According to Woods, there is very often a misconception that an ante-nuptial contract should only be considered if the couple has substantial assets before getting married. In fact, making the decision to get married out of community of property is just as much about governing the future of your union as protecting the past ownership. It is best to be prepared for any scenario as we do not know and cannot predict what may happen in the future.
Dreyer Engelbreght Attorneys are qualified professional attorneys willing to assist with any of your contract drafting and more. Visit our website on www.delaw.co.za for more information.