By the time you’re in your forties, you should have a pretty thorough estate plan in place. You might have kids and a spouse to think of, are more established in your career and typically have some assets to your name.
Don’t panic if you’ve barely begun on your estate plan. It’s simple to put the basics in place, and you can fill in any gaps from there.
That being said, if you’re missing an estate plan entirely or haven’t done much, now is a great time to get started.
Here are some key estate planning moves for your forties:
Know What You Need
The purpose of an estate plan is to allocate all your assets after your death. However, it’s just as important to designate a guardian for your kids and decide who will make financial and health decisions for you if you can’t. Doing that takes more than just a will, though that’s what most people start with.
Your estate plan should include:
- A will/trust
- Beneficiary designations
- Guardianship designations
- Power of attorneys – Both financial and healthcare (Note: There is also something called a healthcare directive or living will. This is someone who will make health and end of life decisions for you if you are unable to do so. A healthcare power of attorney can determine who will make the healthcare decisions for you, and appoint a proxy to do so.)
- Letter of Intent
You can also check out this podcast from Couple Money Podcast, where we discussed what essentials an estate plan should include.
Check up on beneficiaries
If it’s been a while since you created a will or trust, you should check the beneficiaries to make sure they are still correct.
If your family has grown since your first started your will, you need to make sure all of your children (and potentially grandchildren) are included where you want them to be.
The same goes for other life changes, like marriage or divorce. Adjust your estate plan with any major family changes to make sure everything will be distributed according to your plan.
Talk to Your Parents About Their Estate Plan
It’s not a fun conversation, but once you’re in your forties, it’s probably time to start talking to your parents about their estate plans.
Is their will up to date? Have their beneficiaries changed? You also want to make sure you’re aware of their retirement plans and who will make decisions about their health.
Check on your estate plan if you’ve moved
Even if you’ve spent years making sure you have a thorough estate plan that suits your needs, you should still check up on it periodically.
This is especially true if you’ve moved out-of-state. The rules that applied when you first set up your estate plan might not apply in a different state.
In this case, it’s a good idea to meet with an attorney who understands the rules in your state and can make sure everything still applies.
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP® works with busy professionals to help them organize their financial life and make progress on their goals. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.