valentines dayValentine’s Day is coming up, and whether you have someone in your life or not, you still need to make sure your assets are protected. Let’s face it: love doesn’t always work out. In America, the divorce rate is far too high to go into a marriage unprotected. In this article, we’ll give you some tips for managing your assets in a clear, logical way outside of your love, whether lost or not.

Prenuptial Agreement 

Ah, the prenup. This vaunted document helps people avoid having their assets taken by their ex-spouse after a divorce. A prenuptial agreement, as the name suggests, is signed before the couple gets married. Couples list which assets they consider separate property versus those they consider marital (shared) property. 

If the marriage ends, the prenuptial agreement will help avoid disputes about property and money. If there is an asset that you want to keep as your own, like your house, list it in the prenuptial agreement. Word of advice: if your spouse-to-be refuses to sign it, you might be wise to take that as a red flag. 

Post-Divorce Estate Planning 

In some states, documents in your estate plan automatically are altered after your divorce is finalized. Whether they are or not, you still need to schedule an appointment with your estate planning attorney to go over documents to ensure they are updated. For example, you might have left possessions and money to your spouse in your will. After the divorce ends, you will want to change that. You’ll want to change any beneficiary names that list your ex-spouse in the blank space. Otherwise, you could find your future plans heavily-impacted. 

Incapacity Planning

This one is a little different. As financial scams are on the rise, incapacity planning has become more and more talked about. If your elderly parent or grandparent falls in love with a scammer across the globe and begins sending them thousands of dollars, do you have any legal recourse? Online romance scammers are rarely caught and prosecuted, despite law enforcement’s best efforts. 

The best advice that we can give you is to immediately contact a lawyer to see what your options are. If you are listed as the elderly relative’s power of attorney, talk to counsel to determine whether their actions may meet the threshold for you to take control. There’s no clear-cut answer—it all depends on the situation. But, if this sounds like a situation your relative has, unfortunately, found him or herself in, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Exercise Good Judgment 

We couldn’t leave this article without a few words of advice. It’s hard, when you’re in love, to always think clearly. Exercising good judgment with regards to their finances is something that people tend to think of last when they’re in a relationship. Below are five red flags to look out for when it comes to finances in a relationship. Hopefully, you take note of them. 

Financial Red Flags 

  1. Hiding financial information: if your partner hides information from you or lies to you about their finances, this is a huge sign to watch out for. 
  2. Runaway debt: while everyone has debt, debt that comes from extravagant, nonsensical purchases could be a sign that your partner is not responsible with money. Someone with a spending problem is not a person you with whom you want to mingle accounts. 
  3. Frequent borrowing from family: if your partner is always asking for money from mom or dad, that is a red flag to stay away from. That goes double if they rarely pay the money back. 
  4. Financial control: on the flip side, if your partner tries to manage your money for you or cont
    rols what you can and cannot spend, he or she could be a financial abuser. Financial control is an enormous red flag. 
  5. Consistent late bill payments: we’ve all been late on a bill a time or two. Maybe we missed the date, forgot, or had an emergency that made us short that month. It’s not a huge deal if a late bill payment happens rarely, but it is a bigger problem if your partner consistently falls behind on bills. 

Love can be complicated. We understand that not everything is clear-cut in a relationship, and it is easy to lose your head. If you think that you’ve lost control in a relationship and are in danger of asset loss, contact an attorney immediately to get the situation sorted.