What can you do if your adult child won’t get a prenup?

Your child has announced that they’re getting married. Even if you’ve already grown to love their spouse-to-be, you still want them to have a prenuptial agreement to protect the assets your child already has and especially those they’ll accumulate and/or inherit in the future.

There’s one big hurdle: They don’t intend to get a prenup. Maybe neither of them sees the need for one. Maybe one or both of them believes it’s like “planning for divorce.” Whatever the reason(s), they reject the idea. They may also feel like it’s none of your business.

You may consider it to very much be your business. If there’s a family business or family trust, for example, that your child has a stake in, you have every right to want to protect that. There may already be a legal requirement that they get a prenup. Even if there’s not a family business or trust, your child could still be set to inherit a considerable amount of money or other assets after you or maybe older family members are gone.

It’s important to be transparent with your child about what’s at stake so they can make an informed decision about what to do. Let them know what it is you’re seeking to protect.

Getting too involved can invalidate the prenup

If that doesn’t work, or if your future in-law is still resistant to the idea, it’s important to know when to back off. If you and your child end up placing too much pressure on their future spouse, any prenup they draw up likely won’t hold up in court. Pressure or threats to sign a prenup are among the more common reasons judges can throw them out in divorce.

Further, even if both parties agree to a prenup, you have to step back and not involve yourself in the process. This must be a document they develop on their own, with the guidance of their separate legal advisors. You can, however, give your child enough information that they know what it is they need to protect so they can do so.

If your efforts to get them to draw up a prenup don’t succeed, you have other options to “divorce proof” your child’s inheritance. Trusts can be set up so that the beneficiary must go through a trustee to get their assets, for example. It’s a good idea to get some estate planning guidance on this so that you can protect your family’s wealth.

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