Patty is happy, but her three children are upset because she and Sam are planning a wedding. “Mom, he’s so unlike dad. Are you sure?” Patty’s sure.

Patty has been lonely since Jim died. Sam is very unlike her first husband, who was always calm, logical and frugal. Sam vacations to tropical islands, with two more exotic trips next year. At age 73, Patty is going snorkeling with dolphins. She’s so happy that she bought a new red car and hired a contractor to add a sun room and hot tub to her home. “Mom, are you sure you’re okay? You’re not acting like yourself.  You’re spending money like crazy… should we schedule a medical checkup?” her daughter asks. “Of course, it’s not about the money,” she always adds.
Patty knows – it is about the money. She and her late husband were smart investors and she has more than enough money. Sam has a good military retirement, and he doesn’t care about Patty’s money. But her kids care, and they’re suspicious of Sam’s motives. Patty has tried to get them to warm up to Sam, but they’re sometimes rude.

What can Patty do to ease her kid’s worries about Sam?

Here’s an idea:  Patty can take her three children to her lawyer to hear their mother say, “I want a good prenuptial agreement to protect my children’s inheritance.”  These are magic words for worried children.

A prenuptial agreement, called a “premarital agreement” in Utah, is a contract between two people who plan to marry describing how their property and debts will be divided during marriage and in the event of a breakup.

Premarital agreements are powerful tools for calming family fears about a second marriage, especially when combined with a will or simple revocable trust. In this case, the children get protections so Sam can’t take mom’s money; Sam gets smiles instead of rudeness from Patty’s three children, and Patty gets Sam and a swim with the dolphins. Everybody wins.

Attorneys fees vary widely for premarital agreements and trusts in Utah. Our law firm charges $350 for a typical premarital agreement and about $700 for a simple trust package.

By Jack Helgesen Published November 2, 2008