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Prenuptial agreements for farming families

Some people in Texas may think of prenuptial agreements as something that only the very wealthy need, but increasingly, some lawyers are urging farming families to consider them. Without a prenuptial agreement, if a person who has inherited part of a family farm gets a divorce, their spouse may have the right to half of that person's share.

This can be difficult for families who have owned the farm for generations, and it can also create complications for the business that the farm represents. Some families structure their farms so that descendants have a choice to opt in or out of being part of the business. In some cases, a family may decided to form a limited liability company.

Some couples object to prenuptial agreements on principle but may change their minds when they realize how vulnerable the family's property may be. One way to think of a premarital agreement is as a type of marriage insurance against the worst case scenario.

Texas is a community property state, so this means that a family farm might be even more likely to be vulnerable to being split in a divorce. Even if a couple has a prenuptial agreement stating that the farm is not considered marital property, that agreement might be challenged in court. In some cases, a couple might work with attorneys to come to an agreement in which one exchanges their share of the farm for another asset such as a retirement account or a home. Individuals who are facing property division that involves a substantial family asset may wish to discuss the issue with an attorney to see what kinds of strategies might be available to keep the property within the family.

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