Do you need a prenup? The answer might surprise you…


Mention the word prenup, and there is still the general perception that it is something for the super rich. A way for aging businessmen and rock stars to protect their wealth from gold diggers who are only marrying them for their money.

Aside from being somewhat sexist – after all, successful business people, rock stars and indeed gold diggers can definitely be both male and female – it is also completely missing the point of what a prenup is really all about. The truth is, a prenup can be of benefit to everyday people, and those who go into a marriage for all the right reasons and with the pragmatic approach of hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

Here are a couple of examples of people who really should consider a prenup – and without a glossy magazine wedding or a tabloid headline in sight.

The Entrepreneur

This is the age of going it alone in business. From gardeners to accountants and from plumbers to web designers, it has never been easier to set up your own business and make a success of it.

As a general rule, any business interests and their value will be considered a “matrimonial asset” – in other words, it falls within the category of what’s yours is mine, what’s mine is yours, and will be divided accordingly in the event of divorce.

Typically, the court will look to deal with this sensibly – for example, if the husband runs a successful window cleaning business, he will keep it and its assets, while the wife will get a greater share of other assets. However, this, of course, means placing a value on the business, and that is where the trouble can start.

If the couple has a prenup, they can come up with a pragmatic and logical way of dealing with the business at a time when they are both thinking clearly and looking out for one another’s best interests. Perhaps they will decide that window cleaning enterprise is the husband’s regardless, or that the wife will only get a proportion of its value at such time as the business is sold.

The prenup can even take into account a business that has yet to be created, or can talk about “business interests” in general. After all, these days, we live in flexible times, and who knows what the future holds?

The Legatee

It sounds like a lazy plot device from a novel, but the truth is that the world is full of wealthy relatives leaving large pots of money to grandchildren, nieces, nephews and so on. For some of us, the money just goes into the family savings account and there is no issue with sharing it out in the event of divorce. However, these days, many of us have family relationships that are a little complex.

For example, suppose you have children from a previous marriage. If your rich uncle has popped off and left you a large legacy, you might want to ringfence some or all of these assets for future generations.

Prenups, postnups and nonups

Today, you don’t just have to be contemplating marriage to sign up to a prenup. There is a growing trend towards post-nuptial agreements for those whose circumstances change after marriage, or even cohabitation agreements for those who live together but have not formally tied the knot.

At Hylton Potts, we can help you draw up the agreement that is right for you and your partner, regardless of your circumstances, wealth and marital status. Why not give us a call or drop us an email – our friendly team is always here to offer some no-nonsense advice. You can reach us on 020 7381 8111, or email us at law@hylton-potts.com.

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