Four Personal Legal Documents Everyone in Their 40s Should Have

When you are in your 40s make sure that you have the appropriate and necessary legal documents prepared, just in case of emergency. While having these legal documents completed can sometimes be time-consuming and expensive, these documents are essential for you and your family. Many consumers put this off until it’s too late, but if you are in your 40s and don’t already have these documents in place, now’s the time to talk to a lawyer.

To find a lawyer, you may want to talk to friends and family to get a reference. When you talk to the lawyer, find out what fees you should expect to pay in advance. You and your spouse should have a private discussion prior to your meeting with the lawyer, to talk about the many decisions you’ll need to put in writing.

Last will and testament

A last will and testament explains to the courts how you want your assets divided when you pass away. If you have young children, you can also designate who you want to raise your children. 

Living will

A living will specifies what kind of medical treatments you would want (or not want) if you become incapacitated. There are general living wills you can complete, or you can choose to be very specific.

Health care proxy

A health care proxy designates someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Power of attorney

A power of attorney allows you to designate someone else to execute legal documents on your behalf, if you are unable to execute them.

If you haven’t already created these essential documents, now is the right time to do so. If money is an issue, there are some great resources you can use if you’d like to create them yourself. Once complete, commit to reviewing the documents every few years to make sure all of the information in these documents is up to date.