They Say Life Begins at 40: time to live it up while ensuring those dearest to you are protected

Your 40s are an exciting stage in your life. For many of us our career, home and social life is more settled. Your children may be reaching their teenage years, and over that decade will start the process of considering what their future might look like.

As your children start to show more independence you may also start to see your own parents aging, and possibly experience poorer health. Watching these changes comes the realisation that you too are getting older (and with that wiser) and you start to consider your own future.

As your thoughts turn to planning for the future, having an estate plan is the best way to keep you and your family safe.

If you already have an estate plan this is the time to review it with your partner, and possibly even with your young adult children; ensuring that they are aware of your wishes, and the location of important documentation.

It’s important at this stage in your life that your estate plan covers all aspects of your current life. For example, is your will in order, what might have changed that impacts its validity? Do you have an enduring power of attorney and healthcare directive; and if so is it still relevant?

So what should you include in your Estate Plan?

Deciding what is best for you, and your partner and family should involve discussion with your loved ones, as well as professional advice and guidance. However at the end of the day, this is your estate plan.

These simplified explanations below provide a glimpse into some options for your estate plan.

A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding distribution of your assets, and care of your child/ren after your death. It also names the executor of the Will. That is the person/s or organisation responsible for administering your Will.

A Healthcare Directive specifies what actions should be taken regarding your health if you are no longer able to make these decisions.

A Power of Attorney is the name you provide for the person/people who can make decisions on your behalf, both from a financial and a health perspective.

Trusts are a type of business structure that holds income and/or property for the benefit of others, your beneficiaries. There are a number of considerations when setting up a trust that will need to be made in order to understand what type of trust is best for you.

A Letter of Intent is a letter to love ones or your executor that outlines your last wishes and personal messages. It may detail ‘special’ items, such as jewellery, paintings or mementos that you want to give to specific individuals within or outside the family. Or explain reasons behind why you have made specific decisions in matters related to your estate.

My parents aren’t that old yet but over the next decade so many things could happen

It is not unusual that we start to think about our parents mortality as they reach their 60s. And although they may be healthy now, what would happen if one of them became ill or worse?

A conversation with your parents about their wishes will give you peace of mind, as well as bring up some of the ‘taboo’ subjects that many families don’t talk about.

This is a good reminder to your parents that they need to ensure their estate plan is up to date. For example, now that their grandchildren are older they may want to make changes to their Will, or make a one-off gift while still alive. It may also be timely they consider if they want to leave a bequest. Hopefully they already have an enduring power of attorney or healthcare directive however it is important they are up to date and have shared their wishes with their loved ones.

Once you start discussions about the future with your partner, children and parents; future discussions become easier, and less emotional. However if you are not sure how to raise these topics initially speak to someone who has these types of discussions on a regular basis.

At Lambert Group Future Planning, the team are trained to understand that discussions around death of a loved one can be difficult. They can guide you around the language to use; and of course if easier can arrange to meet with your parents to ensure their estate plan is up to date.