A prenuptial agreement can protect your family farm

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Prenuptial Agreements

Many Minnesota farms go back generations. Some have been started more recently. Either way, if you have an ownership stake in your family’s farm or are due to inherit all or part of it when your parents are no longer around or able to run it, it’s important to consider getting a prenuptial agreement before you get married.

Whether you are part of the day-to-day operations or you live and work in a city while others in the family run it, you and/or your parents likely intend to keep the farm in the family. That includes the land itself, the properties on it, the equipment, any animals and all the other assets that are part of the farm. If your marriage were to end in divorce, a prenup addressing the farm is the best way to ensure that your spouse can’t take all or part of your share of it.

Certainly, no one wants to plan for a day when they might divorce when they aren’t even married yet. However, it’s easier if you think of a prenup as an insurance policy. You have all kinds of insurance policies to protect you financially if a catastrophic event occurs. That doesn’t mean you anticipate such an event. You just want protection in case it does.

Ensuring that your prenup is valid

If your spouse-to-be is put off by the idea of a prenup, it’s important to help them understand that it’s there to protect both of you. For example, it shouldn’t be just about them not getting a share of the farm. For a prenup to hold up in court, it has to be “fair and balanced.” It can’t only protect the interests of one party or potentially leave one with nothing in a divorce.

That’s why both parties to a prenup need their own legal representation to protect their interests. It’s also critical not to pressure (or allow your family to pressure) the person you’re going to marry or to wait until wedding plans are well underway to present them with a prenup to sign. A prenup that’s signed “under duress” likely won’t hold up in court, either.

At the end of the day, prenups are becoming more common among people of all ages and income levels. However, when there’s a family business at stake (which, of course, a farm is), it’s all the more important to consider drafting one.