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What Are the Financial Risks Associated with Your Death?

When will you die?  That seems to be a stupid question, because nobody knows when they will die.  But what if you died tomorrow?  If you knew for absolute surety that you would be gone tomorrow, what would you do today?  Now that you have some thoughts in front of you, overlay all your financial concerns associated with such questions. What would your death mean financially to your loved ones?  What money issues would they face because you are gone?
What we leave behind when we die is called our “legacy.” What will be the legacy you leave your family? What will be your community legacy or your spiritual legacy? What will be your financial legacy? Will your death be a hardship for loved ones? Once you allow yourself to contemplate such questions, you will begin to get a whole lot more concerned with what you want to have happen and what you don’t wantmy-goals to have happen when you die. As you make a list of things that you need to do to ensure the outcome you desire, this list becomes a high priority and you will realize you have to begin working on it now if you want to leave behind a legacy you can be proud of.
Here is a partial checklist designed to help you think about some items that you may need to take care of now before it’s too late:

1. Get cash reserves in place that will be enough to pay your debts and bury you.
2. Ensure you have enough income for dependents, i.e. life insurance.
3. Create a will and/or trust declaring your final wishes.
4. Name a guardian for your minor children and be sure this is in your will and/or trust.
5. Get assets organized in one place with instructions for your heirs on how they need to be distributed.
6. Prepare final/funeral wishes and final goodbyes (letters to loved one, life history, “emotional” legacies, etc.).
7. Record passwords and access instructions to computers that have information about your personal and financial information so that it won’t be difficult for your loved ones to sort out your affairs.
8. Bequeath special items, like a gun to a son, or china and furniture to daughters, etc.
20429. Make amends with anyone you feel you have offended or that has offended you.
10. Arrange photographs with descriptions so your family can continue to pass these along knowing what they are about.
Don’t get depressed over this subject, just get prepared.  What I have done for the last several years, when someone asks a favor of me, is to ask them for a favor in return by being willing to come to my funeral.  I wait to see if I get a verbal yes, and then don’t push the issue. In one such instance, a young man I had helped in the Boy Scout program played the piano really well.  I was so impressed I asked him if he would be willing to play at my funeral.  He reluctantly said yes.  So I offered money, to see what he would say.  “I will be happy to pay you $25 now, or name your price, if you will play.”  He smiled and said “no, I will be happy to do this.” He said I had helped him with his Scouting activities a ton, so there would be no charge.  Sometimes it’s good to think about how you want to be remembered when you die rather than worry so much about all that’s happening around you right now, then get prepared, spiritually, socially, and financially for your desired outcome.
Few people get prepared for what will be a certain event.  In my experience, this kind of preparation really helps leave good memories and alleviates a whole lot of financial worry while you are still alive.

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