Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: Do Farm Kids Need a Pre-Nup?

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner (Sunday for those of you who are now in a panic realizing you have some shopping to do) and I thought that a nice romantic discussion about prenuptial agreements would be a fitting way to celebrate the holiday.

Photo via Britt Fisk Photography, Clayton, NM

Oftentimes, people think of prenups being for rich celebrities with millions of dollars in the bank and marriages that seem destined to fail.  The sad truth, however, is that divorce can strike farm couples just like any other and when that happens, it can have huge impacts on the farming operation.  And while a prenup may not be the right tool for every operation, thinking through different options and making sure a plan is in place to protect the farm from unforeseen circumstances is extremely important.

Prenups and Farm Kids

Fortunately for us, two of my friends have great information to share on the topic of prenups and farm kids.

First up, Clinton Griffiths with Ag Day, recently did a story on his television show asking whether farm kids need a prenup.  To view Clinton’s news story, click here.

Second, Cari Rincker is an agricultural law attorney and Texas A&M University alum in New York City.  She frequently works on prenuptial agreements for her clients and has written extensively on this topic.  To read her post on reasons why prenups are romantic, click here.  For those of you who have already said “I do,” a post-nuptial agreement could be an option.  To read Cari’s article about this topic, click here.

Key Takeaway Point

In my  mind, the key take home point for folks on this topic is that it is critical to think through how a marriage, divorce, or death could impact the farm or ranch business.  There is no one-size-fits-all answer for how best to protect the operation.  Differences in family dynamics, state laws, and financial situations should all be taken into account when determining the best approach for your farm.  It may be that a prenup will assist with that goal, it may be a solid succession and estate plan will help, it could be that selecting the right business entity and ownership structure will cover all bases.

The bottom line is that we must think through these issues, discuss them with our families, and seek advice from our  accountants, financial advisers, and attorneys.  Families work too hard and invest far too much time, money, blood, sweat and tears not to ensure their operation is protected from unforeseen events in the future.

With that, I wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day this weekend!


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