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Make — and complete — your financial bucket list | Personal Finance – Daily Advertiser

We all create bucket lists — a list of those exotic locations we want to visit or those over-the-top activities we want to try. There is also a financial bucket list — a list of those financial documents or activities that should be completed before we die. This bucket list is designed for the person you leave behind rather than for yourself. By completing this list, your survivor should be in a better position to handle your final affairs.

Here are some of the best bucket list items.

Make a will.

You may not think that there is much that you’ll leave behind when you die, but that may not be the case. If you have property, like a house or furniture or even your car, you will be leaving behind something.

Telling someone that they should get the asset is not the same as making your wishes known in writing. Without a will, the court must follow a predetermined procedure and the person you feel is most deserving may end up with nothing.

A good will does not have to be extensive, but it should be legally binding. It is worth seeing a lawyer to make sure that your final intent is carried out properly

Create a medical directive.

Creating a medical directive can be done while your will is made. It is a simple document that lists how much medical treatment you want in case of a terminal illness or injury. Keep in mind that a person must be appointed to execute your directive, so it would be a wise idea to talk to that person before designating him or her.

Verify your insurance, retirement plan beneficiaries.

Times change and our families change.

There may be a remarriage or children who were born after the insurance was purchased. It is important to review your beneficiaries and ensure that you have included everyone who should be included.

Make a contingent beneficiary as well, just in case your primary beneficiary predeceases you.

Leave a list of passwords.

You can make sure that your family knows where to find a list of your passwords. Whether they are in the family Bible or planted under the oak tree in the backyard, you need to make sure that someone — typically your spouse or executor of your will —knows where to find your passwords.

These passwords should include access to your phone, your bank, your online accounts, and any other websites where you conduct financial transactions. It is important that someone knows how to access your financial information 

Plan your funeral arrangements.

Some people believe that planning your funeral should be left to the family. However, consider the fact that they are distraught and deeply saddened by your passing. These arrangements are conducted at a most difficult time. You don’t have to prepay for your funeral (unless you want to) but you should leave some instructions as to how you want your last get-together to be conducted.

Make a list of important records, people, subscriptions.

It can be helpful to have a document with all of your credit cards, memberships, subscriptions, and important contacts. This list should be complete and located in an easy-to-access file. The reason for this is that all these accounts may need to be canceled and your important contacts may need to be notified of your death. Having a list makes this process easier.

It is important to remember that you will be out of reach when much of your financial information is needed to handle your final affairs. Help those who are left behind by completing the bucket list.

Mary Fox Luquette, MBA, CLU, ChFC is a finance instructor in the B I Moody III College of Business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.