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5 reasons to address your estate in your 40s

Your 40s aren't a bad time in your life. You're still young, you have a strong job and a good family. Life is pretty great, and that's why you need to start thinking about the future. Planning for your future now means there's less to worry about later.

Estate plans help you when you can't help yourself

Estate plans help you plan for incapacity, either physically or mentally. Living wills and health care power-of-attorney documents give you the chance to choose someone to make life-changing decisions for you when you can't.

You save money

Your 40s are a good time to start planning your finances. This is most likely when you have a family that you want to protect and when you start thinking about retirement. It's not as far off as you might think, and a little planning now makes everything easier later.

You probably want to set up retirement plans, start paying off debt and getting into a better financial position. Now, save money by working on your estate at the same time. What happens to all that financial planning if you get sick and become incapacitated? What happens if you die?

These are questions that need answers, and choosing to plan now helps you keep costs low later. Consider trusts, different ways of transferring 401(k) funds and taxes when planning your estate.

Your family gets what it needs

Living as the head of the family, planning for your wife and children is important. If you pass away, how do they receive the assets you have? While most transfer directly to a spouse, it's still something to go over with an attorney. Additionally, if you and your spouse pass away at the same time, having a guardianship plan for your children is wise.

Your business goes on with or without you

Plan for your business to achieve success in lieu of your absence. Determine who takes over if you're no longer in charge, and create a plan for continuing the affairs of the company.

You get the final say

When you plan early, you get to state what you want to happen in the case that you can't make a decision later. Determine what should happen if you're comatose, identify your beneficiaries. Doing this early means you don't need to worry about what could happen in the future. Draw up the documents with your attorney to secure your plans.

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