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Massachusetts couples who are considering marriage should learn about the benefits that prenuptial agreements offer them.

Massachusetts residents who may feel caught off guard if their significant others suggest getting prenuptial agreements may want to rethink their own reactions. These marital contracts are not what they used to be. Once reserved for the rich and famous, prenups can benefit anyone today-and they can do a whole lot more than just outline provisions for a future divorce.

Looking Beyond Divorce Protection

USA Today explains that a prenuptial agreement can be used to document many decisions to-be married couples make. One example is how children will be raised and who will take care of them. If one person plans to quit working and stay home with kids, this can be included in the contract. Another example is one person’s commitment to financially support the couple while the other partner is in school. Details about how monthly bills will be handled may also be included in a prenup.

Protecting Family Inheritances

Fox Business notes that money received from inheritances may well need to be kept separate. If one partner expects to eventually receive a large sum from a relative, a prenup can identify this as separate property before the money is ever inherited. This may avoid difficulties between spouses at the time that an inheritance is received.

Strong Estate Planning

According to CNBC, standard estate planning tools like wills and trusts may fail to adequately include all of a person’s assets. A prenuptial agreement can list provisions for any type of asset. It can also be amended over time as people obtain new assets or sell others. When it comes to estate planning, there is almost no such thing as too much documentation.

Many families have encountered challenges when a will or a trust is contested. Having a prenup in place that also documents wishes may just provide the additional support necessary to ensure that plans are followed.

For blended families, the additional help can be vital in helping to keep special heirlooms within biological families rather than stepfamilies.

Handling Debt As Well As Assets

Many people focus on how assets will be separated when developing a prenup. Business Insider suggests that equal attention be given to the debts that both partners bring to a marriage. It may be important to keep ownership and repayment of some debts separate rather than comingling them. If joint assets will be used to pay existing debts, this can also be documented in a marital contract.

Legal Input Is Important

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract. It is therefore important that Massachusetts couples talk with a lawyer when creating a prenup. Making sure a contract is valid is an essential part of the process and requires thorough knowledge of the law.