7 Important Legal Documents Every Adult Should Have in Order by 40
As an adult, there are quite a few legal documents that you’ll want to have settled and organized as soon as possible in the event of a horrible accident. If you’re unsure what those documents are, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 7 important legal documents every adult should have in order by 40 years old.
Forty is such a pivotal age for people, there’s a reason why people like to joke that life begins then.
When you’re forty your years of hard work have finally started to pay off. You’re established in your career, have started your family, and are really settled into your adult life.
You’ve built a life you can be happy about, and it’s time to protect it by having your legal documents stored safely and securely in the event of a fire or burglary.
Are you curious about what you should be keeping in your safe deposit box? Read on to find out!
Legal Documents Every Adult Needs
You never know when an emergency will happen, and not being prepared can make things worse.
It’s important to note that having a lawyer you can trust on hand can be just as important as having the right legal documents. View here for more info on how you can get legal representation.
When you’ve found a lawyer you can trust, they can help you put together essential legal documents you need to have.
When you’re speaking with your lawyer about important legal documents, make sure that you bring up the following ones.
Durable Power of Attorney (Health Care)
This is one of the simplest forms you can fill out, but by far it’s one of the most important documents an adult could ever have.
Imagine being in an accident, being incapacitated, and being given care that you wouldn’t want. That horrifying reality has come true for people that don’t have health care related, durable power of attorney established.
This critical document lets you name who you want to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to do so for yourself.
It could also help in less life-threatening situations. You may need someone to allow a doctor to make a mid-procedure decision.
Choose someone close with you that understands what treatment and care you’d want. Have a frank and honest discussion with them about your expectations and make sure that they understand your wishes.
Durable Power Of Attorney (Finance)
This document is nearly as important as the healthcare related one. This form will allow you to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you in the event that you’re unable to.
When you’re making the decision on who to designate, don’t take it lightly. This document goes beyond making sure that bills get paid.
Someone with power of attorney over your finances could make major business decisions, enter into contracts, control assets like stocks, and take out lines of credit.
Only choose someone that you know is financially secure and can make smart decisions with your money.
This important document will express all of your end-of-life treatment plans.
It’s similar to the durable power of attorney form for health care, but instead of giving someone the power to make decisions, you’re clearly outlining what you want.
A living could express that you don’t want any artificial means of maintaining your life (ventilator, dialysis, etc) or that you want everything done possible to keep you alive.
This is an important document for every adult to have. There may be a situation where the person you gave durable power of attorney to may be unable to perform their duties. This ensures that you’ll get the care you want.
Last Will And Testament
A will is a document that allows you to name who you want to handle your affairs after you die. The person you designate will be your personal representative and can help dictate funeral arrangements and explain how you want your assets distributed.
A will is important, but it doesn’t cover as many needs as people think it does.
The person you choose will the authority to help with your funeral, but they won’t be able to make decisions on the dispersal of certain kinds of property. You’ll need separate documents for that.
This isn’t one document, it’s several that legally name who is entitled to certain assets.
You could have a variety of financial assets you need to divide up. These are the most common things you should get beneficiary designations on:
- Life insurance policies
- Money market accounts
- Retirement accounts
You will need beneficiary agreements if you want your loved ones to get any of these assets. If you lack beneficiary designations, a judge will need to determine the best way to divide up your financial assets.
Real estate law can get very complicated when the property owner dies.
Some people wrongly assume that they’ll inherit the property by blood rights or because they were informally promised it. But the truth is that the only thing that can determine the true owner of the property is a beneficiary deed.
A beneficiary deed can help take care of any possible disputes that can arise after you die.
If you have a will but lack a beneficiary deed, your real estate assets could go into probate. Your family and loved ones could have to fight a long and costly court battle.
Remember to get beneficiary deeds for all of the properties you own. Forgetting to include a vacation home or acres of land can lead to legal disputes.
Personal Property Memorandum
We’ve covered how certain documents can help divide up big assets like stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. If you want a way to disperse certain items to friends and loved ones, you’ll want to draft a personal property memorandum.
This document can help ensure that everyone gets what they’re entitled to in the event of your death.
Some people find that it’s easier to leave everything to their spouse or their children, but there may be some special circumstances where you’ll want to make sure that certain people outside of your immediate family get your possessions.
Do you have a niece that was fond of a pair of diamond earrings you owned? Is there a friend that you want to inherit your classic car? State that in your personal property memorandum to ensure that loved ones get their due.
Now that you know what legal documents you need, it’s time to educate yourself on other important legal matters.
Did you know that a family law attorney can help you in ways that go beyond child custody and divorce? Read our post on things you should know about family law so you can learn the best way to protect yourself and your family.
And remember, our site is filled with useful content. Be sure to check out other categories to see what you can learn.