Family law can protect your wealth
- Credit: Archant
Whether you are about to get married, have already tied the knot or are living together as a couple, you might be keen to protect your hard-earned wealth.
Alison Fernandes, partner and Head of Hall Brown’s Sheffield office, outlines the legal options for wealth management open to those in relationships and stresses key points to consider.
She also highlights how many formal agreements can work for parents keen to help their children out financially or those working together in a family business.
The earlier the better
Whether you are about to enter a marriage, cohabit or go into a family business together – or you are considering giving away some money – the sooner you make a formal agreement to outline financial arrangements and expectations, the better.
Likewise, if you fear your relationship might be breaking down, take legal advice as early as possible as this can help to minimise costs and distress later.
A pre-nuptial agreement is not unromantic
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Pre-nuptial agreements can be a useful tool to protect wealth and to provide both parties with a degree of certainty for the future.
They are not unromantic but are essentially a form of insurance and should be as acceptable as wills are these days.
A pre-nuptial agreement can suit people of any age, but especially older couples or those about to have a second or third marriage who wish to safeguard their wealth for themselves or their children.
Post or pre-nuptial agreements can reassure parents
Wealthy parents or grandparents may consider gifting money or assets to their children while they are alive.
They may wish to ensure the money stays within the family if their child’s marriage breaks down – once again, a nuptial agreement could be the solution.
A cohabitation agreement is ideal for an unmarried couple
Despite what many believe, there is no cohabitation law for people who consider themselves to be common law partners.
If you are living together but are unmarried you have no automatic rights to wealth or assets – so a cohabitation agreement could be the answer.
This sets out what is expected within the relationship and what contributions each party might make to outgoings or assets.
It can also specify whether a non-homeowning partner has a claim on the homeowning partner’s property.
Agreements to cover business interests
Those individuals who have built up a family business together or who are starting a new relationship and wish to put new partners on the books (or to give them shares for tax purposes) should consider including this in any agreement.
If they don’t, they could end up dealing with claims on their business as well as their home and other wealth should their relationship breakdown.