As soon as you begin to contemplate divorce, the nauseating, panic-attack-inducing realization of losing half of your net worth kicks in and you find yourself wondering if it’s even worth it to consider leaving if you’re just going to end up broke and starving.
You may know what’s in your estate but have no idea how to make divorce work financially. You may have no idea of what’s in your estate, and you are scared to death of leaving and becoming homeless.
There are ways to ensure that your financial future is not destined for disaster. First and foremost, be sure you involve a financial advisor who specializes in divorce on your team so that you will be fully informed of all the creative settlement possibilities that may be open to you.
A couple married 41 years came to me together last year for assistance with their divorce. They were completely amicable but had significant net worth and unsure of how to divide their estate. Several attorneys had told them to “just split it 50/50”. This couple not only had significant net worth in investments, but they also owned a business and multiple commercial properties. The husband was distraught at the thought of giving his wife half of his business. The wife didn’t work day to day in the business and it took special skills and licenses to operate the entity, plus this was something he had built from the ground floor up. His heart was in the business. Some of the commercial properties were rented and under contract with tenants which the husband had created. The other commercial properties were in areas that were currently depressed, not very safe and the husband had been trying to sell them for years. The couple just didn’t feel dividing it down the middle was the smart thing to do. They were referred to me to explore options.
After gathering all their financial documents and completing my analysis, I put together two reports for the clients. The first reflected an exact 50/50 split. This gave the wife half of everything for an even 50/50 split. The second was my creative settlement solution that resulted in a net 60/40 split but took into consideration tax planning and consequences as well as the needs of each party as they planned for the next phase of their lives.
In my creative settlement option, the husband kept 100% of his business entity, the rental properties and the wife kept 100% of the investable assets. She walked away with 40% of the estate, but no business risk, no need to ever work again, and a financial plan that provided her with enough income to live day to day in a paid off house and travel internationally several times each year. Part of her investments were put in products that provided guaranteed income for life and the other in investments that can keep up with inflation. She had protection, safety and a solid financial plan. He had the business he wanted and the rental properties which he also wanted.
Needless to say, the couple was thrilled to pay my bill knowing that I had found a way for the husband to keep the assets he wanted and the wife with enough assets to live comfortably for the rest of her life.