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The alternative bucket list: 5 Important things you must do when you turn 50

Well, its more of a ‘to do list when you turn 50’ really. As I spend more and more time caring for elderly relatives and friends, and helping them sort stuff out, I realise there are things we can and should do in our 50’s (or earlier) to make life easier later. So in no particular order, here are the things I am planning to tackle this year.

Make a will

Well I should have done this a long time ago, especially as I have children and own a property. There’s no excuse for not doing this one. It makes things so much more straightforward for those left behind, however far in the future that moment is. And having witnessed the heart breaking arguments friends have ended up having with their siblings over their parents’ belongings, I am also including a list of specific bequests – bits and pieces and who I want them to go to.

Interesting read – Top Stress Relief, Relaxation and Meditation Blogs

Power of attorney

This seems odd when I’m healthy and intend carrying on managing my own affairs for decades to come. But you don’t usually get any warning of the curveballs life can chuck at us, and the majority of people leave it too late to appoint someone to act on their behalf should the need arise. If you do leave it too late, it becomes so much more complicated and costly (involving the courts and several months of paperwork). I see this one as a bit like an insurance policy. You hope you’ll never need it, but it makes sense to have it. (Here’s more info on doing a Power of Attorney)

Advance Directive 

Also known as a Living Will. Rather like the insurance policy approach above, this is another of those pieces of paper I hope I’ll never need. But if it came to it, and I was unable to make decisions about my own care, I would want everyone to know that it was my choice not to have a life-sustaining treatment. Again, it makes it so much easier for everyone else if they know what I want and can prove it. (Here’s more info on doing an Advance Directive).

Funeral plans

At least I can be fairly sure this one will come in useful one day. Again, it really helps those left behind if they don’t have to second guess (and argue) about what funeral arrangements you would have wanted. Burial or cremation? Church or burial ground? Which hymns or poems? Or have you donated your body to science, in which case there won’t be a funeral? As the costs of funerals and cremations increase dramatically you may want to pay for yours in advance, in which case you need to make that clear too.

Operation Last Post

The father of a friend of mine has done all the above and more. Just as importantly, he has put all the information anyone will need when the time comes into a single file, given copies of the key documents to his children and told them where to find the master file.

I am feeling quite daunted by this list, but I suspect I have not thought of everything I should be doing. Have you done any of this? Are there things I have forgotten? Join the Age Space forum and let us know and add to our list of when you turn 50.

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