Prenuptial agreements have become very popular in the past few years, but you and your spouse might not have had one. Instead, you may have created a postnuptial agreement.

You are now over a decade into your marriage and have been discussing the subject of an estate plan. Your postnup can become part of that, and it is good timing, as the agreement may need updating.

The anatomy of a postnuptial agreement

The main difference been a prenup and a postnup is that you draw up the former prior to marriage, while the latter you prepare at some point after tying the knot. The postnuptial agreement is a legal contract that normally spells out asset division in case of divorce. It can refer to property acquired both before and during the marriage, so while some assets will fall under separate property, the bulk would be marital property.

Helping yourself and others

There are several financial aspects to consider in a marriage. For example, you may establish a postnup to ensure that you have financial protection if you leave the workforce to raise the children. You can also use it to help dependents, protect your business if you are self-employed and even stipulate who takes care of various tasks around the home, such as mowing the lawn or taking out the trash.

Folding it in

A family law attorney will tell you that a postnuptial agreement can become part of your overall estate plan, together with documents such as your will and powers of attorney. It may be especially helpful if you are in your second or third marriage. You may have created the postnup to ensure that your children from the first marriage will be taken care of financially in the event you were suddenly to die. A postnuptial agreement is a flexible document that would merge seamlessly with your estate plan and undergo updates to reflect a change of circumstances if need be.