- Having a prenup is similar to having insurance it's not something you plan to use, but it's there if you need it.
- A prenup can be helpful from a financial planning perspective, whether it's designed to help both spouses keep what they brought into the marriage, or protect something specific like a family business.
- SmartAsset's free tool can find a financial planner to help you take control of your money
Getting a prenup isn't inherently pessimistic.
Ylisa Sanford , an Ameriprise private wealth adviser and financial planner, says having a prenuptial agreement a legal document that determines how your assets are distributed should your marriage dissolve isn't about being negative. It's about being protected.
She tells Business Insider that having a prenup is similar to having any type of insurance: It's not something you hope to need, but you'll be glad to have it if you do. "I'm very much a romantic, but I'm also a planner," Sanford says. "The planner in me says, 'I'm not planning to need long-term care or go on disability,' but I have that insurance," she says. "I'm not planning to have a car accident, but I have car insurance."
Sanford says a prenuptial agreement acts as protection, making sure that in the event of a divorce, each partner's assets go to the right person. It acts as a safeguard, but it doesn't mean that something will go wrong.
Sanford says there are three situations where it's essential to have an agreement: in a second marriage with children, for anyone with a family business, and for any couple where one partner has more assets than another.
She acknowledges that these agreements can sometimes get a bad rap, however. "From a romantic standpoint, I think that they can be very troublesome," Sanford says. "As we look at the news and celebrities, it calls into question the actual intention of the union sometimes." She continues: "In certain cases, they can take on a life of their own if people get too emotionally invested in them, and have a lack of confidence in why they're being developed in the first place."
But, from a financial planning perspective, she's found that they're helpful. "From a planning standpoint, I think that prenups are very effective," she says. Prenuptial agreements can be specific, from splitting shared bank accounts , to making sure that any homes or equity are divided properly, to making sure that the right spouse's children get the proper inheritance . "Premarital agreements that are structured fairly and ethically with informed parties who have had proper consultation make things easy from a financial standpoint if there is a dissolution," she says.
A prenup isn't the most romantic thing you can do with a partner, but it might be one of the smartest.
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