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Strategies to protect a complex marital estate in Nevada

Nevada readers have likely seen news coverage of the announcement of a high-profile divorce between Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng. Murdoch, who at 82 years of age is the chief executive of News Corp., is worth an estimated $11.2 billion. With news of the divorce comes an onslaught of speculating as to how the eventual divorce settlement will affect the company and its many employees. For those in Nevada who have amassed a complex marital estate, the outcome of what is expected to be a very public divorce may provide a valuable lesson.

For wealthy individuals, having a prenuptial agreement in place before tying the knot is an essential part of savvy financial planning. A well drafted prenup can greatly simplify a divorce proceeding, and can protect one’s business interests in the event that a marriage should end in divorce. For individuals who have already married absent a prenup, there is still an option available to secure those protections.

A postnuptial agreement is nothing more than a prenup that is entered into after a marriage has already taken place. This is an excellent tool for spouses who begin a business after they are married, or who have experienced unanticipated growth. In such cases, the spouse who is asking for the postnup has less leverage than he or she would have had before entering into the marriage. However, by explaining the benefits of the agreement in relation to protecting the business and those who rely upon its success for their income, it is often possible to draft a postnuptial agreement that is fair to both parties.

As with any aspect of a Nevada marriage, honesty and open communication are the keys to success when approaching a difficult topic. Spouses who have a complex marital estate can greatly benefit from a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, and it is possible to address the issue in a way that is non-confrontational. When a business has been built and expanded, many people come to rely upon its continued success for their own employment. Approaching the matter in light of protecting the future of the business is one way to remove emotion from the equation.

Source:, “Why Rupert Murdoch’s Divorce Is a Wakeup Call for Business Owners,” Leah Ingram, June 17, 2013

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