Asset Protection... Millennials Beware


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Asset Protection... Millennials Beware


Number 1 story on my news feed today was related to asset protection in a family law context.

I recall reading once that Jeff Hammerbacher, an early employee of Facebook who gathered data about behaviour, said, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads”.  So the fact I am a Family Lawyer, it shouldn’t surprise me that my news feed identified this as being an article which would interest me.  Should I love or loathe the fact that the internet knows me so well?!

But I digress.

The news article was about a young female millennial who found herself facing a de facto dispute being played out in the family law court and her having to get Accountants and Lawyers involved for asset protection purposes.

The facts of the situation were reportedly:-

  • This young millennial had in her early 20s purchased an investment property and established her own online business;
  • Her similarly young millennial male partner, was not so motivated and spent what he earned, accumulating no wealth; and
  • The relationship ended after 2 years of living together – in fact she concluded the relationship after her Accountant raised her attention to her partner being able to make a claim against her asset holdings by virtue of them being in a de facto relationship.

It is sometimes easy to forget, being a Family Lawyer and living and breathing this type of stuff day in day out, that the wider community may be ignorant of the law – especially the younger section of the adult community.  As you get older, you learn about these situations (through a family member, friend, work colleague… your hairdresser) but if you are in your mid 20s, you probably have not had that exposure.

It is not always straightforward as to whether you fall within the definition of a De Facto Relationship, but living together for a continuous period of two years in an intimate relationship is likely to be sufficient, which is why our young millennial female got the tip off from her Accountant.

The good news for our subject young female millennial is that any claim by her former spouse would be a Contribution Based Assessment and it is not a situation where just because you qualify as a de facto couple, there is not automatic entitlement in the other’s property.

If you are in a de facto relationship or contemplating entering a de facto relationship or getting married, then you may wish to take some advice on asset protection, including by entering a Binding Financial Agreement.

So for those who condemn Millennials to be only concerned about how much cracked pepper was on their morning Avocado Smash, clearly they are mistaken.

Photo credit to the Foodable Network