This is a great question! We’re glad you asked. For starters, you should save three original copies, one for you to keep, one for your partner to keep, and one to keep jointly in a secure spot. Keeping an electronic copy is also recommended. Now, as for where you should keep those original and electronic copies is up to you. A home safe is always a great option, as is a secure filing cabinet. Keep reading to find out the many other locations to keep your prenup document.
What is a prenup?
First, let’s backtrack with a little legal lesson. What is a prenup? A prenuptial agreement, i.e., a prenup, is a contract between two soon-to-be spouses detailing financial obligations during the marriage and, in the case of divorce, and sometimes death. A prenup may cover issues like property division, alimony (i.e., spousal support), debt distribution, financial obligations during the marriage, life insurance, confidentiality, pet ownership, and much more.
Best practices for saving your prenup document
As we said before, the best practice for saving your prenup document is to create three original documents at the time of execution. One for you to keep, one for your spouse to keep, and one in a joint location. You should also keep an electronic copy handy.
It’s best to save your prenup document in a safe, but if that’s not possible, then you can also use another secure location where you may keep other important documents, such as your birth certificate or passport. If you don’t have a safe, you might consider putting it in a filing cabinet or a box, along with other important items, in a secure location. Read the section below for more ideas on where to keep your prenup document.
Where to save your prenup document
Now that you know you should have three originals and an electronic copy, where are some ideas for where to actually keep them? Let’s dive in…
Original copies: Home safe
The classic and most obvious choice would be in a home safe. A home safe is a box that locks and is quite hard to break into, which is perfect for sensitive documents such as a prenup. If you don’t have a safe, don’t worry, they aren’t too expensive. You can get one at Home Depot for as low as $38. There are also much more expensive options, getting up to around $2,400.
Original copies: Filing cabinet
Maybe a home safe isn’t your vibe, and you’re looking for something that you already have lying around the house. A filing cabinet is a great option because you may already have a filing cabinet in your home. A filing cabinet is also great for keeping things like your birth certificate and passport. Some filing cabinets even lock! If you don’t have a filing cabinet, you can easily find them on Amazon for an affordable price, as low as $100. Just search “locking filing cabinet,” and a ton of options will pop up. Here’s one great option we found for you. (It doesn’t have to lock, but it’s a nice plus!)
Original copies: A simple box
Maybe you have a big box up in your closet or under your bed where you keep your birth certificate, soon-to-be marriage license, social security card, passport, and more. Even if it doesn’t lock, this can also be a good option, as long as it’s safe. For example, you don’t really want to store a prenup in a box where you also keep your envelopes, chargers, and other miscellaneous stuff, as it could accidentally get thrown out or forgotten! Just make sure whatever spot you choose, you won’t forget about it, and it’s safe from being thrown out, stolen, or damaged.
Original copies: With a family member
Giving one of the original copies to a family member is an excellent choice, especially if you choose a particularly organized and reliable family member. You probably don’t want to pick your 22-year-old little brother who moves to a new apartment every year, but rather someone organized, settled down, and plans on staying put in their home for some time. Not to mention, if anything ever happens to your house with the other originals, be it a flood, fire, hurricane, etc. (God forbid), having an original copy at a family member’s house comes in clutch!
Electronic copies: Google Drive // Dropbox
For the electronic copies, you probably want to store them somewhere more official than your email inbox. Using an electronic storage company like Google Drive or Dropbox is a good idea. You never know what will happen to your email and if you’ll get locked out or accidentally delete it. Both Google Drive and Dropbox are online file storages where you can safely store images, files, videos, and more. Google Drive is a great option if you are a Google-type person. If you’re more of a Dropbox kind of gal (or guy), then by all means! Both are great options for electronic storage.
Electronic copies: External USB
If you want to go more old school with it, you can always store your prenup on an external USB. Just don’t lose that little sucker; they are quite the small gadget! That’s where that home safe may come in handy. You could store the external USB in a home safe. Keep in mind, though, it’s best to keep the three original copies in different locations, just in case someone walks off with your safe. If you had both the original copy and the USB with the electronic copy in the safe, you’re probably SOL if the safe is stolen or broken into.
What are the requirements of a valid prenup?
Where you keep your prenup is really up to you. You are in charge of keeping it safe and sound. There is no legal requirement dictating where you should keep your prenup. However, there are other types of requirements that are necessary for creating a valid prenup. Keep reading to find out what those requirements are (and aren’t!)
The laws that govern prenuptial agreements are state laws. There are some requirements that are pretty standard across most states, which you can see below:
- The prenup must be in writing (no verbal agreements)
- Both parties must sign the prenup (no signatures, no prenup)
- The prenup must be notarized (not every state requires this, but it is a good idea to get this regardless of your state)
- The prenup must be witnessed by 1 or 2 witnesses (again, not every state requires this)
- The prenup must be entered into voluntarily (no duress, coercion, undue influence, fraud, etc., etc.)
- There must be some level of financial disclosure (some states may allow waiver of this)
- No unconscionable terms in the prenup
- No unlawful terms in the prenup
If you’ll notice, there’s no hard and fast requirement on where you have to save your prenup document. That’s because there isn’t one!
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]