Yes, it's true. I bought a house. OK, so a condo. A beautiful condo right in the heart of Chicago. But that's not really the exciting part. The exciting part is that this was a joint purchase with my incredible boyfriend.
Before we began the process of looking for a place, we had to discuss finances. Who would pay for the downpayment, or would we split it? What would that mean for mortgage payments, and the building assessments? It was a standard conversation, answering the basic questions. But what about the not so basic questions? Would anything change if we get married? What if we split up (which of course, we won't, but what if)? And what happens to our place if either one of us passes away?
All of these questions are just brushing the surface of questions that come up in a prenuptial conversation. And all of them, and the even tougher ones, are questions that many young people don't want to think about, let alone answer, for fear that addressing them, particular the "split up," part, mean their love won't last.
My response to questions like this, and the reason that my boyfriend and I have a co-habitation agreement answering these questions and more, can be answered like this: You don't wear a seatbelt because you expect to get into a car accident. You wear one as protection, just in case. A Prenup, or a cohabitation agreement is no different. It's protection from the worst, in hopes that you'll never have to use it.
My final thought on this difficult subject is this - the prenup conversation is hard no matter what. It's even harder if the person getting married doesn't understand their connection to the family enterprise, and how it will effect their future, and their kids future. I recommend making the conversation as seamless as possible. Think about what you can do in your family to make this easy on the spouse-to-be. In my family, we share our family history DVD, and then have one on one meetings with our family office staff. In others, they literally make it a celebration when they invite someone to join their family. No matter what, the connection element is essential.
And remember, if your child is mature enough to get married, he or she is mature enough to know what, when, and how much they're inheriting. Don't wait until it's too late!