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Courtroom Successes

February 4, 2014

Blethen, Gage & Krause is pleased to announce that the Minnesota Supreme Court recently denied an opposing party’s petition for further review of a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision which upheld a decedent’s prenuptial agreement. In this case, Blethen, Gage & Krause represented the decedent’s adult son from an earlier marriage. The opposing party was the decedent’s second wife. The issue before the district court and the Court of Appeals was whether the prenuptial agreement signed by the decedent and his wife had been voided by the decedent’s and the wife’s breaches of the agreement. Both the decedent and his wife had children from prior marriages, and the prenuptial agreement directed that, upon death of either party, the property belonging to that party individually would pass to that party’s children rather than to the spouse. The decedent died first. If the prenuptial agreement was void, as the wife argued, the wife would receive a large portion of the decedent’s estate. However, if the prenuptial agreement was valid, the wife would not receive anything from the estate, which would pass to the decedent’s son. The district court ultimately dismissed the wife’s challenge to the prenuptial agreement, concluding that there was no breach of the agreement by either the decedent or the wife. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling, holding that the wife failed to show that the decedent violated the agreement and that the wife cannot benefit from her own breach of the agreement. The Minnesota Supreme Court denied the wife’s petition for further review of the Court of Appeals’ decision. Blethen, Gage & Krause attorney Bill Moeller, the attorney representing the decedent’s son, believes that the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly gave effect to the decedent’s and his wife’s intent in signing the prenuptial agreement.

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