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Your 7-Step To-Do List Before You Die

By HERWriter
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A 7-Step To-Do List Before You Die Radu Razvan/Fotolia

You probably plan your vacations, your celebration parties, and any major purchases, but have you planned for your death?

Half of Americans have not planned for even the most basic end of life documents, according to Forbes, “including a will, a living will and financial and medical powers of attorney, needed to protect them (and their assets) if they’re incapacitated,” a 2009 survey showed.

What is it that makes taking care of these important forms so difficult? We can’t live forever.

These documents are needed so that our wishes in both medical care and division of our property are honored. We would be appalled if what we really wanted for our end of our life wishes was not carried out, or if all of our financial worth did not go to the family members we expected to get it.

Let’s make a list of what you need and how to do it. Don’t be overwhelmed! Just take one at a time.

1) Prepare a will.

Read about wills here. In the will, you can assign who will be responsible for your underage children and any money you want them to inherit. This person is called a legal guardian. You can also state what you want to leave for others.

There are online wills. Nolo.com has one, Quicken has a WillMaker program, or you can talk to a lawyer about how best to do one.

If you own property and other assets, your lawyer may discuss putting your assets in a trust.

2) Plan your health care directives.

There is a helpful website called: Five Wishes. They produce a document you can fill in online. Or you can download this version to help you think about and discuss these difficult health decisions and choices.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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