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Wealthy parents are most likely to be behind a pre-nup, says poll

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Wealthy parents are most likely to be the driving force behind a pre-nuptial agreement, a poll conducted by leading City law firm Lawrence Graham (LG) has revealed.

The poll, held as part of a panel debate which featured an invited audience of 50 senior figures from London’s banking, advisory and investment communities, showed that 68 per cent believed wealthy parents of couples are behind the signing of a pre-nup.
 
Findings also revealed that wealthy couples should only be encouraged to enter pre-nups for assets acquired before marriage and property inherited or received as a gift prior to or during marriage (59 per cent).
 
Respondents felt that married couples should not be encouraged to enter into a post-nup (38 per cent) – which should only be entered into prior to an event; such as the transfer of assets into a trust, an inheritance or a move to England or Wales.
 
If enforceable pre-nups are introduced, guests decided overwhelmingly (86 per cent) that the most important safeguard to have in place is that legal advice for both parties should be a pre-requisite. 
 
This was followed by full disclosure of assets (70 per cent) and the fact that there should be a minimum cooling-off period between signing and marriage (68 per cent), as the next most important factors.
 
Finally, with regard to the question of whether trustees should be obligated to ask settlors or beneficiaries if they have signed or intend to sign pre-nups, exactly half of the audience voted in favour as the agreement could be enforceable and may be settled into trust, subject to the agreement.
 
LG Private Client partner Catharine Bell, says: "Pre-nups are on their way to becoming one of the most effective ways to try to protect inherited wealth, certainly where it has been acquired prior to marriage.
 
"The high-profile Radmacher v Granatino case, which enhanced the status of pre-nups in England and Wales, demonstrates a significant cultural shift in our attitude to marriage agreements.  It is now increasingly regarded as fair that individuals should be able to protect some assets from the ravages of divorce.
 
"All financial and legal advisers and professional trustees will need to include pre and post-nuptial agreements in their armoury of estate planning tools and must not be squeamish about raising the topic with their wealthy clients. 
 
"Every time a marriage is contemplated, a will drafted or a divorce considered, the pre-nup will be significant, either for its presence or absence."

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