Why a prenup may be an entrepreneur's new best friend
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

Why a prenup may be an entrepreneur’s new best friend

As an entrepreneur, you may call it your “baby.” You spent years creating and building it. Now, you have met the love of your life and plan to marry. Is there anything to consider? The short answer is, yes.

The reality is, situations change. People change. It’s neither bad nor good; it’s simply the way it is. Thirty years from today the “love of your life” may become a friend with whom you have a family. Both of you may decide to go separate ways to pursue your interests.

The Billionaire and Anna

Anna Nicole Smith never signed a prenup when she married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall. When he died, he left her nothing. The Texas beauty was eventually awarded a whopping $474 million which was later rescinded.

A court case between the widow and Marshall’s disinherited son dragged on through 2017. It was a classic case of what happens when you die without an updated estate plan. In Marshall’s case, no prenup left behind a confused widow, angry children, and a profitable business in chaos. Even intelligent, prosperous people fail to take the time to plan for their death.

A Prenup is Proof

Successful power couples agree upon important issues from the get-go.BusinessInsider.com

Arizona is a community property state. This means if you divorce, all property acquired after the marriage will be split evenly. Without a prenup, the court will decide how your assets will be divided. That includes the business you built from the ground up.

As an entrepreneur, you want to be successful in your business. As a person, you want to have success in love and life. Couples that are planning a future together dream of having both. Those couples should consider creating a prenup.

A prenup is an indicator you have up-front, honest communication. That’s the foundation for a long-lasting relationship. A prenup is proof of a foundation of love that can last forever.

You can be any age with a startup or well-established company. If you are planning to marry (or remarry), it’s important to designate your company as separate property in your prenup. This ensures your business remains your business. It’s time to discuss a prenup when you transition from thinking about marriage to planning your marriage. Work with an attorney to determine what should be included.

What Can a Prenup Include?

A prenup isn’t all about money. There are a variety of special circumstances you can include.

  • Before their marriage, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan’s prenup included a date and 100 minutes of alone time every week.
  • Beyoncé and Jay-Z had a prenup, but after their children were born they created a postnup to include custody details, updated assets, and a trust fund for the children.
  • Nicole Kidman agreed to award husband Keith Urban $600,000/year for each year they are together as long as he refrains from drug and alcohol abuse.

Those are somewhat extreme cases of prenups for the rich and famous. However, there are lessons to learn from them. Beyoncé and Jay-Z took the time to reconsider their estate planning and update it to include items to protect their children. You may have a modest income, minimal assets, and a new business. You may be up to your neck in debt, with your assets tied up as ventures. Regardless, there is a place for a prenup for almost anyone.

Business couples who love and respect each other will understand the necessity of marital agreements, including prenups and postnups. It’s never too late to protect yourself, your company, its investors, and your children.

Prenups are Plans for Success

If you’re an entrepreneur, you may dream of future success, fortune, and maybe even fame. You want to take every opportunity to make those dreams a reality, and that takes planning.

Your business may be small. Perhaps it’s only in the development stage, but it still needs protection. Ogborne Law has knowledge and experience in business lawestate planning, and marital agreements. Contact Ogborne Law to learn more.