Will your assets walk out the door?
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Will your assets walk out the door when your relationship (or your kid’s relationship) breaks up?
Don’t just dismiss this as not applying to you.
Maybe you're not in a relationship right now, but I’ve known plenty of self-professed “single forever” people who unexpectedly (even to themselves) end up in a relationship.
Maybe you’re already married, have been for years and intend staying that way. Fantastic … that’s good to hear given today’s divorce statistics.
Maybe your assets aren’t at risk from YOUR relationship – maybe they are at risk from your children’s relationships.
This is something you need eyes wide open about and you need to be clear on the repercussions of doing nothing. If ignored, you run the risk of losing a fair chunk of those assets you’ve spent many years (not to mention lots of hard work) building up.
From the day a relationship gets serious, the clock is ticking.
What‘s “serious”? I'm not sure this is particularly “black and white” as far as the law goes, but one thing is sure – if you’re living together then it’s fair to assume that the date you started co-habitating will be seen as the date it gets “serious” (if not earlier!).
So let’s go back to that clock ... the one that starting ticking after your relationship got serious. This clock will tick happily away for 3 years and then STOP. That’s it. It’s too late then. You will have lost your golden opportunity. The chance to secure your wealth and your assets will be gone – FOREVER!
A difficult subject
It's not an easy subject to tackle. It’s incredibly uncomfortable and emotive. Generally people avoid it like the plague Who wants to sort out a legal agreement on how to deal with the break-up of their relationship (or their children’s) when it’s just starting? But statistics clearly show that a large proportion (one third in fact) of relationships DON’T last forever. Let’s just say for a minute, that your relationship ends up in that one third - unless you have a property relationship agreement in place the parting of the ways could be incredibly messy and incredibly costly. Do you want to add financial ruin to the emotional pain of a break-up?
How are you going to broach the subject of a property agreement? It can be daunting. But the longer you wait the harder it will become. Let’s get real - as awkward as this may be, if your relationship can’t survive this, what hope will it have of dealing with the more difficult tests that will come in the years ahead. And let’s face it, life has a habit of throwing curve balls at us from time to time.
You can of course choose not to tackle this. But you’d better be REALLY clear on all the possible ramifications further down the track. Whatever you decide, I recommend you DO make a conscious decision rather than having one made for you by default, 3 years down the track.
What if it's your son's or daughter's relationship?
If it’s your son or daughter who is in “the relationship” you’d better start thinking about how many of YOUR assets could walk out the door with THEIR ex-partner.
Poor old Jack fell into a legal trap and was forced to give $75,000 to his ex-son-in-law. It might be worth taking an extra minute to read his story.
The "safest" way to handle it
Sometimes it makes a lot of sense to use an independent consultant to assist in working through this with you. Let’s be honest – no one relishes the thought of dealing with this touchy subject – it’s just too emotionally charged to be a pleasant experience. Having an unbiased third party can take all the heat out of it. You can, in effect, reach agreement by mediation well before you need to involve a solicitor. This can be a smart move – and one that might save your emotional wellbeing ….. not to mention your financial wellbeing.
Read how John and Sally saved themselves a lot of money by using an independent consultant to sort out their property agreement.