Protecting wealth – pre and post nuptial agreements

Welcome to the second in a series of three podcasts covering protecting family wealth.

Katy Barber, senior associate in the family law team discusses the importance of planning financial arrangements early on and how pre- and post-nuptial agreements can help protect your wealth.

Although it may sound unromantic, planning financial arrangements early on can save problems at a later date. This is becoming more and more relevant as couples are often marrying at an older age meaning that they are likely to have progressed further in their careers and amassed property or other personal assets, or indeed retired. These are all important factors when considering whether or not you would like to have these assets ring-fenced following a marriage.

The types of pre-acquired assets that you may consider ring-fencing in a pre-nuptial agreement are:

  • Property
  • Business
  • Inheritance (whether received or likely to be received)
  • Interest in family trusts
  • Investments
  • Jewellery or artwork

Although pre and post-nuptial agreements are not yet legally binding in this country, the case of Radmacher v Granatino was a landmark ruling where the courts confirmed that pre and post-nuptial agreement would be given ‘decisive weight’ in the event of a divorce. Since this landmark case, there have been proposed changes to the law to make pre and post-nuptial agreements legal in the UK. It seems that it is only a matter of time before they do become part of English law.

When you are planning a wedding, at whatever stage in your life, it is never nice to think that it might not end happily ever after, but what a pre or post-nuptial agreement does allow is for couples to have a choice over their future and give them greater certainty and control over a financial settlement if the worst should happen.

There are currently special procedural rules about how a pre, or post-nuptial agreement should be entered into and if those rules are not followed, it can discredit the whole agreement. It is therefore important to seek comprehensive legal advice from a specialist.

Contact our family solicitors who can advise you.