Your wedding day is coming up, and you have bought the perfect dress or suit, you've chosen the rings, and you've booked the venue.
An antenuptial contract (also referred to as a prenuptial contract and a prenup) is more than just a matrimonial regime that prevents your spouse from claiming any rights to your assets after your marriage is terminated.
1. While many people are of the opinion that drawing up an antenuptial contract is a way of preparing for divorce, it is not.
An antenuptial contract protects you and your spouse's assets in the event that one of you pass away.
2. If you don't draw up an antenuptial contract, you will automatically be married in community of property.
This means that you will lose all rights to your spouse's assets when you get divorced or when your spouse dies. These assets may also include assets that you had both purchased but registered in your spouse's name.
3. If you have an antenuptial contract, you will be married out of community of property with accrual - unless the accrual system is specifically excluded.
This means that you retain your separate assets, and you have the freedom to deal with your assets as you desire.
4. With the accrual system, you are entitled to the asset value that you brought into the marriage, but you and your spouse will share the assets that you have built up together.
5. Having an antenuptial agreement in place ensures that you and your spouse are seen as separate legal entities, thus protecting you from your spouse's creditors.
6. With the accrual system, you can only claim your share of the joint estate after you have divorced or when your spouse dies.
7. It's important that both parties consult with the lawyer who is drawing up an antenuptial contract because you and your spouse will both need to be made aware of the conditions of the antenuptial contract.
8. The lawyer who draws up your antenuptial contract must be a registered notary.
He or she should also be neutral and able to mediate what goes into the contract.
9. You can't get out of your antenuptial contract, unless you get divorced or your spouse dies. It is a legally binding contract.
10. If you got married in community of property, you can convert to an antenuptial contract after marriage.
However, this process is more expensive, and you will need a good lawyer to guide you.
When planning your wedding, don't forget to plan for the life after it.
Protect your assets, as well as your spouses' assets, by contacting the registered notaries at Van Deventer and van Deventer Incorporated.
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