Love is in the air - The importance of Ante Nuptial Contracts
You’re getting married! Congratulations are in order, but are your legal documents too?
Planning a wedding is an exciting project – all your lifelong dreams of how this day would look can finally come to fruition. When we’re in the midst of all of this romance and fun, it can be easy to forget about the large, lasting and far-reaching commitment we’ll be making when we actually walk down the aisle and make those vows to our partner, and instead focus on the fun of the wedding day.
Planning for the what-if’s, that the marriage may be dissolved either through divorce or death, is one of the last things you’d like to be contemplating at any stage of your life. It is, however, a very prudent necessity of every long-term agreement we enter into. Getting the uncomfortable details out of the way before rings are exchanged and vows are made will protect each party financially in the future. Dividing assets would be a lot less pleasant when we’re heartbroken or angry (or both), and having a contract in place also protects each parties’ estates from debt.
Should you not draw up an ante-nuptial contract prior to your wedding, the law of community of property will automatically be applied to your marriage. This default system legally joins both parties’ estates from the date of the marriage, with a 50/50 shared ownership and liability of all assets, as well as liabilities. Under this contract, should either one of the married couple wish to enter into a contract which affects the joint estate, both parties will need to sign agreement to that contract. This refers to all finance applications, insolvency or even a frozen estate in the event of death.
In order to protect each partner’s assets, an ante-nuptial contract (ANC) must be concluded, with the simplest and most cost-effective way being to do so prior to the marriage. Unless otherwise specified, an ANC incorporates accrual, so that each party retains control over anything they entered the marriage with, but shares everything they build up during the time of the marriage. The ANC essentially ensures that each spouse is treated as a separate legal entity, protecting each one from the other’s debts.
Consulting a registered notary to draw up an ANC is an important process, so that each party is fully aware of all it entails. Get in touch with Bosch Marais & Associates so that we can work with you and your spouse-to-be, starting your marriage on the best footing.