If you’re in need of a prenup and believe using a free New York prenup agreement form is your best option, we’re here to tell you about the potential issues that may arise from this option. New York has specific laws governing prenuptial agreements, outlining the crafting process, permissible content, and the factors that make them legally binding. For instance, prenups in New York must be acknowledged in the same manner as a deed. Say what?! (More on this later). Free New York prenuptial agreement forms may not adequately address such legal considerations. Even if they do, navigating the intricacies of the law and ensuring proper prenup execution can be challenging when you simply download a free agreement without further legal support. Below, we’ll discuss the five main concerns associated with free NY prenup forms to help you make an informed decision on how to go about getting your prenup.
Issue #1: Lack of guidance on proper execution
Free prenuptial agreement forms downloaded online often lack a step-by-step guide on how to properly execute the document, especially with the unique rule(s) in the state of New York. Different states have varying rules regarding the execution of prenups. Some may require witnesses, others notarization, and some may impose waiting periods between the final draft and signing. In New York, there is a somewhat unique rule which requires a prenup to be “acknowledged in the form of a deed.” It’s a risk to download a free NY prenup because you don’t know if they’ve included the proper language and instructions to satisfy this step.
Issue #2: Inclusion of unconscionable clauses
In New York, you must’nt include clauses that are unconscionable otherwise you risk your prenup being thrown out. What is an example of an unconscionable clause in New York? Well it could be many different things, but one common example would be a spousal support (a.k.a. alimony) provision that is extremely unfair to one of the spouses. A New York court could find your alimony clause unconscionable, and therefore unenforceable.
If the form was not drafted or reviewed by a New York attorney, it risks incorporating unconscionable terms and/or terms against public policy. Identifying unconscionable clauses can be challenging for those not well-versed in New York prenup law, and signing such an agreement poses a risk of it being deemed unenforceable.
Issue #3: Free forms aren’t tailored to you
Free online prenuptial agreement forms are usually generic templates designed for a broad audience and probably do not cater to your unique needs. Finding a standard form that precisely fits your life goals, needs, and property requirements is rare. For example, free forms may automatically waive alimony or separate property even though that’s not what you want. Why does this matter? Well, because prenups should be customized to your life, of course! You want a prenup to protect you, not just what’s good for the average joe.
“Online prenup forms do not, and cannot, take into consideration every couple’s unique circumstances. These circumstances may include the most up-to-date state laws where the couple resides, business ownership, real estate, alimony, and more.” – New York Prenup Attorney, Nicole DiGiacomo
Issue #4: New York’s acknowledged in the form of a deed requirement
New York has a unique rule that requires a prenup to be acknowledged in the form of a deed. What in the world does that mean? Well, it’s basically certain contract language required in the prenup + notarization. Whether or not your free online NY prenup form includes the proper language is unclear. You’d have to speak with an attorney to understand if your free online form is compliant with NY law. The good news? HelloPrenup has you covered. We ensure you have the proper language in your agreement to keep your agreement in compliance.
Issue #5: Lack of understanding of the agreement’s terms
When downloading free legal agreements from the internet, it’s crucial to carefully read and understand the terms of the document, especially when it may become a legally binding document. Failure to comprehend the terms could lead to unexpected legal complications or miscommunications within the marriage. For example, let’s say your free NY prenup form includes a clause requiring a joint bank account. Do you both understand that and what you are agreeing to? If both of you don’t understand this, then it could be a problem one day when one person goes to set up the joint bank account but the other person has no idea why that’s happening!
The bottom line is that free prenup forms can be risky
In conclusion, using free New York prenuptial agreement forms comes with significant risks. These forms may lack comprehensive guidance, may include unconscionable clauses, lack customization, may not consider New York’s unique notarization language requirement, and may lead to a lack of understanding of the legal terms. Considering the above concerns, exploring more reliable online options, such as HelloPrenup, which provides state-compliant prenuptial agreements and offers self-help legal resources and the assistance of licensed New York attorneys, can provide greater security and confidence in your agreement.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]