What Is Asset Protection?
Divorce is never a topic that people like to think about―especially when planning a wedding. However, with a high percentage of marriages ending in divorce and more than 430,000 currently divorced individuals in the state of Minnesota, asset protection in the event of marital dissolution is important to consider.
Asset protection is a legal concept that refers to how your money and property is protected should your marriage end in divorce. The avenues available for doing this vary by state; therefore, it is important to work with an attorney who knows the laws for your jurisdiction. This is not something you want to tackle without legal advice.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
The most common way to protect assets in the event of a divorce is through the use of a prenuptial agreement. Known as a “prenup” for short, this legal document is signed by the bride and groom-to-be describing how assets will be divided if the marriage ends in divorce. This document is sometimes referred to as a premarital agreement or an antenuptial agreement, but the concept remains the same. If drafted correctly by a competent attorney in compliance with the laws of the jurisdiction, a prenuptial agreement should hold up well in court.
Are There Other Means of Asset Protection?
While a prenuptial agreement is the most reliable and most recommended method of asset protection, Minnesota law allows for other various methods. For example, choosing not to combine all of your assets is another way to ensure they stay protected. Money, investments, and property owned by each party prior to the marriage may not automatically be considered part of the marital estate. Therefore, it may make more sense to keep them separate.
Sometimes, however, even when handled carefully, gray areas still exist. For example, if you own a piece of property before you marry, the courts may not find that it is part of the marital estate, but if the value of the property grows during the marriage, then that appreciation may be subject to the divorce settlement.
How Do I Learn More About My Options?
While the idea of a prenuptial agreement is unpleasant for many to think about, it should be considered as an insurance policy. Just as you do not plan to wreck your car when you buy coverage, it is wise to be prepared just in case.
If you have considerable assets or are concerned about their division at the time of your death, it is especially worth talking to a knowledgeable attorney about your options. This is especially true if:
You own a business, as a prenup can be used to spell out what would happen to the company in the event of a divorce. If you have business partners, they will want to know the plan.
You are expecting a large inheritance from a relative, as you may want to discuss whether that money or property becomes “ours” instead of yours.
You are marrying someone with a great deal of debt. You should speak with an attorney about a prenup because if they find themselves unable to pay back the debt, your property could be taken to satisfy the loans if not planned for carefully.
Consult With an Experieced Family Law Attorney Today
Your best defense is the counsel of a competent attorney. If you would like to sit down and discuss your options for protecting your assets or consult about any other legal questions, contact the Law Offices of SeilerSchindel, PLLC at 612-286-8537 today.