How Can We Ask Our Daughter to Sign a Prenuptual Agreement?

Question:  My daughter is getting married soon. We have significantly more money than her fiancée’s family. Since her fiancé will be a part of our family we are uncomfortable bringing this up as we are concerned that it will send a message that we don’t like him. How can we start this discussion with our daughter?


Love and money are very tricky topics. You are wise to ask your daughter to consider signing a prenuptial agreement prior to her marriage. A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before marriage. It sets forth the rights that each person has to their own assets and to the assets that are earned or acquired during the marriage if divorce strikes. Today it is very common for a child of wealthy parents to ask her fiancé to waive off all rights to any assets that the child will receive from her parents by gift or inheritance. The waiver typically includes any appreciation in the value of those assets. The agreement may not address what happens to any asset that the couple earns together during the course of their marriage-that can be negotiated if divorce occurs.

When you have the discussion with your daughter it is important to stress to her that the agreement is intended to protect her-the goal of the agreement is to put her in control of the disposition of any family asset she receives. Assuming the marriage goes well she can always choose to override the agreement and put her assets in joint name or execute an estate plan that leaves him her entire net worth.

The goal of the prenuptial agreement is to shield those assets and keep them for her benefit if the marriage does not work. A valid prenuptial agreement takes those assets of the table in any divorce discussion. No matter how difficult it may be, it is important that she discuss and execute the prenuptial agreement well in advance of the wedding-a typical rule is before the invitations are mailed out.

Delaying the discussion can lead to an argument that the agreement is not valid and was signed under duress.

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:

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