How To Make an Important Documents Home Management Binder •
Do you know where all your important documents and paperwork are? Does anyone ELSE know where to find that important information? If something happened to you RIGHT NOW, would anyone else have a clue where to find your will, your important documents, your life insurance policy information, what bills you have, your passwords… be able to have the important information they need to take over your LIFE?
The time to put together an “In Case of Emergency” binder is BEFORE an emergency happens.
So, what do you need to PUT in your important documents binder? Below is a checklist of the documents you need to include.
Emergency Binder Documents Checklist
Below is a checklist of important paperwork and documents you need in your Emergency Binder.
To get EVERYTHING you need:
Important Household Documents
The first thing you need to do is have all your important household documents, files and papers organized and readily available so you and your loved ones can find this information without issue.
__ Make a complete record of personal information for each member of your family. Include name, address, social security number, marital status, etc. Be sure to include information about aging parents if you are responsible for their care (power of attorney, medical info, elder care details, etc.).
__ Make an inventory of the contents in your home and any items in storage. Support this inventory with photographs, video recordings and licensed appraisals when possible.
__ Create a list and description of all real estate you own. Locate and organize deeds, leases and title information. Include all properties such as residential, rental, investment, commercial and time-shares.
__ Locate and organize all insurance records (life, health, accident, business, etc.).
__ Make a list including names, addresses and phone numbers of all service providers and advisers (plumber, electrician, doctor, dentist, lawyers, accountant, insurance agents, etc.)
__ Make a list including names, addresses and phone numbers of all domestic hires (nannies, caregivers, housekeepers, gardeners, etc).
__ Make a list of all online accounts and passwords. This is especially important for financial accounts such as bank, investment and retirement accounts.
Important Health Documents
Having your health information readily available is not only prudent, it can be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency. This is especially true for individuals with acute illnesses, disabilities and older adults.
__ Make a file with medical history for each member of your family. Be sure to include date of birth, current height/weight, allergies, blood type and past or current illnesses.
__ Make a list of doctors and their specialties, pharmacies used, health insurers and local hospital information. Include addresses and phone numbers.
__ Make and post an emergency contact list. Put it in an obvious location such as on the refrigerator door, inside a cabinet or above a kitchen phone. Include names and addresses for family members, doctors and all emergency contacts.
__ Make and maintain an accurate list of current prescriptions and pharmacies.
Important Financial Documents
Protect your loved ones with careful and organized record keeping in addition to financial and estate planning. This will help ensure you minimize taxes and asset loss.
__ Keep an updated list of all assets and liabilities.
__ Keep one copy and give another to a trusted adviser and or a relative.
__ Locate and organize all asset related documents (investments, retirement, insurances, etc.).
__ Make a list of every insurance policy you own. Include benefit, premium and customer service information for each.
__ Plan to lose your wallet! Make a list of all credit, ATM and insurance cards along with phone numbers for cancellation and replacement.
__ Have your income and dividend checks deposited directly into your bank account. It is easy, secure and eliminates lost or stolen checks.
__ Inventory the contents of your safety deposit box and store the information in a safe place. Do not keep anything in your safe deposit box that you need immediate access to such as an original will, cemetery deed, burial instructions, etc.
__ If you use a safe in the home to store important records and assets, be sure it is fireproof and that someone you trust has the combination or key to gain access.
Important Estate Info and Wills
The best way to protect your current lifestyle is to make personal and financial arrangements before life-changing events occur. This is the only way to be sure your wishes are carried out in the event of disability or death. Please note: it is best to seek the advice of an estate lawyer and financial adviser when planning your estate.
__ Make a will or revocable living trust now, while you are able to make timely and competent decisions.
__ Designate a power of attorney for those circumstances where you may be temporarily or permanently disabled.
__ Prepare a living will and health care proxy that explain your wishes concerning artificial life-support measures. Be as detailed as possible.
__ Store your will and health care proxy documents in an organized filing system with other vital records.
__ Choose a guardian or guardians for minor children and make appropriate financial provisions for them.
TIP: Help your loved ones create one of their own too – especially if YOU will be in charge of their finances, etc after they pass.
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