A Primer on Prenups

Follow these five tips before saying "I do."

Readers, take note. Prenups aren't just the province of the rich and famous. A premarital contract not only helps you divvy up property in the case of divorce but also absolves you of your spouse's debts, carves out assets for children from a previous marriage, keeps a family business intact and ensures that the family home stays within the family. "A prenup preserves the expectations of the parties," says Robert J. Nachsin, an attorney who wrote I Do, You Do ... But Sign Here.

Not everyone needs a prenup. But if you have a large portfolio of assets or believe you will someday, you'll need an able lawyer to draft the document. Depending on where you live and how complicated your finances are, a prenup will run a few thousand dollars to as much as $25,000. Although some lawyers charge a flat fee, but more lawyers charge an hourly rate of $200 to $700.

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Jane Bennett Clark
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
The late Jane Bennett Clark, who passed away in March 2017, covered all facets of retirement and wrote a bimonthly column that took a fresh, sometimes provocative look at ways to approach life after a career. She also oversaw the annual Kiplinger rankings for best values in public and private colleges and universities and spearheaded the annual "Best Cities" feature. Clark graduated from Northwestern University.