Paul McCartney once sang "All you need is love." Apparently his ex-wife needed a little more.
On March 17 a British Family Court ordered the former Beatle to pay his estranged wife Heather Mills $48.6 million, significantly less than the $125 million she originally requested. Text of the settlement, released by the court, further revealed that McCartney's assets are worth about $800 million overall, not the $1 billion plus that has been previously reported. Sir Paul, 65, married the former model and activist, Mills, 40, in 2002. They split four years later and have a daughter, Beatrice, 4. After the ruling, McCartney declined to comment, while Mills expressed relief: "I am so glad it is over. It is an incredible result in the end."
Incredibly costly. And an expense that could have been significantly reduced with a prenuptial agreement, even though experts say McCartney was fortunate the final tab was not more. “It could have been a lot worse,” says Richard Fried, an attorney in Central New Jersey. “This result is very fair. He acquired most of the wealth before he met her. She doesn’t get to share in the lion share of his wealth. He did pretty well.” Morris Armstrong, a financial advisor in Danbury, Conn., agrees. “$50 million on [close to] a billion is nothing," says Armstrong. "Some people can lose half of their assets.”
Is a prenup right for you? It depends on your assets. In most cases a prenup is for people who have a significant amount of money, or a potential inheritance, that they want to protect. “It’s for people who come to a marriage with substantial assets,” says Fried. “And by substantial assets I mean even a house. Something worth several hundred thousand dollars is worth drafting a prenup.”