Be better than Bezos

13

What does the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, have in common with all of us? Simply said, he did not properly prepare and think about estate planning. Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $134 billion dollars, which in the near future will be divided in half because he, and his “now” wife never signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Jeff Bezos will never be poor, but most of us in the same situation could lose a lifetime of earning and savings.

For many clients who are contemplating marriage (or re-marriage after the death of a spouse or after a divorce), an important estate planning consideration will be whether to enter into a premarital agreement with their intended spouse. A premarital agreement is a contract made between a husband and wife prior to the marriage in which the parties agree in advance regarding various legal rights and obligations, including inheritance rights, property division in the event of divorce, alimony and spousal support. Under most states’ law, once a couple marries, a spouse becomes legally entitled to various rights in the other spouse’s property in the event of the death of the spouse or in the event of the parties’ divorce.

For clients entering into a first marriage, a premarital agreement may be advisable, especially for those clients who have significant assets (including closely-held or family business assets) or who may expect to receive significant assets in the future through inheritance or a trust fund.

For clients considering re-marriage following the death or divorce from a previous spouse, a premarital agreement will enable a person to retain control over the disposition of his or her estate at death, free from claims of the new spouse. A premarital agreement can ensure your assets and estate will be preserved for your children from your prior marriage.

Premarital agreements are being used more frequently to determine the economic consequences of marriage, and for preserving assets for children and grandchildren. For business associates, premarital agreements offer an alternative to provide for a waiver of all rights to the spouse’s business interests upon divorce or death.

Be Educated! Be Proactive!

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Leonard F. Baer
Leonard Baer's practice focuses on Elder Law, and Estate Planning. His previous experience was in the area of complex criminal litigation, serving as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division for The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Baer was recognized by the Office of The Attorney General, as one of the top prosecutors in the country during his tenure. He has been included in North Carolina Top Rated Lawyers, a distinction awarded to those lawyers recognized by their colleagues as leaders in their field. He has also been recognized by the Florida Bar, for his efforts in representing seniors and their families, who are victims of scams and fraud. Mr. Baer is an AV rated lawyer listed in Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in their Bar Registrar of Preeminent Lawyers, which for over 90 years, includes only those select law practices that have earned their highest rating. He has been designated by Martindale-Hubbell as preeminent in his field, and in the top 5% of all lawyers practicing in the United States. Mr. Baer has also been ranked by AVVO, an online Legal Directory of over 200,000 lawyers nationally, as Superb, their highest rating. He served as adjunct professor of Sports Law at The University of Miami, and is a frequent lecturer on the topics of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Fraud Protection. He has been a columnist for several newspapers for over 13 years and currently has a nationally syndicated blog, “As I See It” with a readership of over 25,000.

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