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The Postnuptial Agreement Renaissance – Can Ohio Emerge from the Dark Ages?

July/August 2019 - Probate Law Journal of Ohio
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Ohio’s strict prohibition on postnuptial agreements (agreements made after entering marriage) is quite simply a relic of a bygone era. No matter how fair or reasonable an agreement is, how free it is from undue influence, fraud, mistake, or duress, or how much it could benefit a family or relationship, if the agreement is entered into by spouses while they are married and alters their legal relations, it is invalid. Ohio also prohibits spouses from amending an existing premarital agreement after entering marriage, regardless of how stale it is in light of changed circumstances, how ambiguous its provisions are, or how many errors it contains. Instead, spouses are stuck with outdated agreements and the uncertainty that a court may not honor them. In this regard, premarital agreements are the last true irrevocable documents in Ohio. Even irrevocable trust agreements can be modified by a private settlement agreement or decanting two concepts that have been game-changers for Ohio estate planners in assisting clients in improving outdated trust agreements. Despite this progress, Ohio’s laws on marital agreements have been stuck in the dark ages.

Read the article here.

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