Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Congratulations are in order for Playboy Millionaire Hugh Hefner on his third marriage. Hefner married his girlfriend Crystal Harris on New Year's Eve. The most important estate planning lesson that we can learn from Hugh Hefner's marriage is his use of a prenuptial agreement. Harris signed the prenuptial agreement prior to her marriage with Hefner. The prenuptial protects most of Hefner's assets, including the Playboy Mansion and Playboy Enterprises.
While most people think of prenuptial agreements in terms of divorce, these documents can also play an important role in estate planning. In most states, the surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of the deceased spouses' estate, regardless of whether the deceased spouse tries to exclude them from their estate through a will. The only way to legally remove a spouse's right is to contract the right away. Therefore, it is possible to exclude a surviving spouse from taking through a prenuptial agreement. Some estate planning attorney's believe that when the spouses have such a large age difference, a prenuptial agreement is appropriate to ensure that the interests of the wealthier party are protected. The prenuptial agreement Harris signed allows Hefner to give his estate to his children instead of Harris.
See Evan Guthrie Law Firm, Estate Planning: Lessons Learned From Hugh Hefner's Third Marriage, JDSupra, Jan. 7, 2013.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.