Clients are often concerned about how their business may affect their personal lives.  When considering marriage, this is one of the most frequently asked questions we face. How do I limit my business risk and avoid it affecting my personal assets or family in any way?


For some reason – the scenario on the flip side of the coin is rarely considered.


How can my personal affairs impact my business?

In all honesty, this is also probably a consideration you should have given some thought to before you got married. Luckily – all is not lost.

Firstly, to answer this question depends largely on how you have structured your business and how you are married (with or without an antenuptial contract).

Where you have not registered your business and trade as a sole proprietor, your personal and business assets are co-mingled. This means that you are the business and the business is you – so whether your debts are personal or for business, they are claimable against you in your personal capacity.

If you have registered your business as say, a private company, you may have signed surety for the business. This may also expose your personal assets. Similarly, your business may be surety for a personal debt you intend to incur or an obligation you intend to fulfil.

In addition, your choice of an antenuptial contract, or lack thereof, may result in a claim from your deceased or ex – spouse. If you are unable to pay the amount in cash, your business, regardless of how you have structured it, may be sold or transferred in order to satisfy this debt.


Solutions? So, how do you avoid the above?

  1. Ensure that you plan holistically.
  • Plan and structure your personal affairs as meticulously as you would your business affairs or vice versa.
  •  Practically this means; ensure your business is setup correctly and that all foreseeable risks that could expose your personal assets, have been avoided.
  1. Ensure you execute a suitable and professionally drafted antenuptial contract.
  2. Implement estate and business planning to ensure that the financial sides on both sides remain healthy.


We therefore recommend that clients utilise our legal goalkeeper assessment. We offer assessments for businesses and business owners to ensure that both their personal and business affairs are appropriately structured to avoid the conundrums outlined above. Call us for an assessment today!

About The Author

Nicolene Schoeman-Louw

I founded the firm Schoemanlaw Inc in 2007 aged 24 and am the Managing Director of the firm. I am an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, as well as a Conveyancer , Notary Public and Mediator. I obtained my LLB degree cum laude and successfully completed my LLM degree (dissertation) in commercial law and B-BBEE at the University of the Free State. In addition I obtained my postgraduate diploma in financial planning (CFP) at the University of Stellenbosch. An abstract of my LLM dissertation was published in the Journal for Estate Planning in 2006 and is regularly published in De Rebus (the SA attorneys’ journal) as well as Without Prejudice and (legalbriefs). I also write regularly for various online publications such as Spice for Life and other mainstream publications such as The Entrepreneur Magazine, Personal Finance Magazine and have a regular slot on SAfm’s The Law Report with Karen Key. For more information visit

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