On Valentine's Day our thoughts turn to moonlight and roses, love and marriage. Although marriage may be a union of soul mates, it is also an economic partnership under the law. Here are some suggested things to do before you say "I do":

  1. Do a prenuptial agreement to clarify expectations of the marriage, specify the consequences to each of you upon divorce or death and override the laws of your jurisdiction that otherwise would apply. Increasingly, young couples are entering into prenups to protect businesses, professional practices, careers, inheritances and credit. Older, more established couples traditionally use prenuptial agreements to protect their nest eggs for themselves and their children from prior marriages.
  1. Do an estate plan, which includes a Will, Healthcare Proxy, Living Will and Power of Attorney, to ensure that both of you and your heirs are protected in the event of death or incapacity. Executing an estate plan is also a convenient way to obtain from your partner disclosure of his or her net worth, income, assets and liabilities (i.e., significant debts, personal bankruptcy or credit history).
  1. Do discuss financial goals and develop a plan to meet short- and longterm goals so you each have a clear understanding of the lifestyle you want to live.

Have a great Valentine’s Day!