Does Granny Really Need a Pre-Nup?

You might be surprised just how often folks in their seventies and eighties decide to remarry, and subsequently come to see us for the preparation of a pre-nuptial agreement. While the client wants a pre-nup to protect his/her assets in case the marriage doesn't work out (which is a valid point that requires thoughtful lawyering), the better question to ask is, "Do I need a pre-nup if the marriage does work?" And the answer is "yes", big time.

If Granny and her man get married without a pre-nup and things go swimmingly well, at some point it is likely that one of them may end up in a nursing home (let's assume that person is new Grandpa). Given that nursing home care can easily exceed $10,000 per month, Medicare law requires that before new Grandpa becomes eligible to stay in the nursing home on the government's nickel, he must effectively spend all of his money first. And, since new Grandpa is also Granny's husband, "his" money includes "her" money, meaning, that, in the absence of a pre-nup, Granny's savings will also be just about extinguished to pay for new Grandpa's care in the nursing facility before he becomes eligible for Medicare.

The crazy thing is, if Granny and new Grandpa had signed a properly drafted pre-nup before they got married, 100% of Granny's assets would have been protected and preserved for her. Quite an excellent deal for Granny- she pays a lawyer the fraction of the cost of a month's stay in a nursing home to prepare the pre-nup, and saves herself potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars!

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