Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Prenupt and Homestead

Lots of couples today are executing a prenuptial agreements prior to marriage.  One issue is can you contract away your homestead rights in a prenuptial agreement?  The answer seems to be no.    In Estate of Jones: Dixon v. Jones, decided  by the Mississippi Court of Appeals on April 29, 2014, the Court found that a quit claim deed was void by failure of the wife to join in the conveyance despite the fact there was a prenuptial agreement.   The Court cited to Ward v. Ward, 517 So.2d 571, 573 (Miss. 1987):

"Our legislature has chosen to place a restriction on the transfer or encumbrance of homesteads[,] and therefore, homesteads in Mississippi may not be alienated except in compliance with those restrictions. There can be no operative conveyance or effectual release of the exemption unless the method pointed out by the statute is pursued with strictness[,] and no requirement of the statute may be waived by the husband and wife or by either of them. Chancery will not interfere to give relief where by express law there is a limitation on the power of alienation of the homestead[,] and the final relief sought is merely to relieve that limitation." (emphasis added)

The language in here stands for the proposition that a statutory right cannot be contractually waived.  There is some other helpful language in the opinion that deals with when a will acts as a revocation of a prenuptial agreement which was another issue in the case.  

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