With the recent disasters happening in the world we should be thinking about preparing for the possibility of an emergency in our own life. How many of you can immediately find the phone number of the Insurance Company and know the information they would ask to begin processing your claim? Who would you want contacted in case you are injured in a disaster? Or in case of your death? I have a simple system to organize my important information.
All of this information, and more, should be readily available to you or someone who will be responsible for you if you cannot take care of yourself. Preparing a document with all this information is time consuming, but will ensure your peace of mind.
I have prepared such a document in a red folder for my oldest daughter for the possibility of my inability to take care of myself. As a little bonus I find myself referring to it for phone numbers and other information. It saves time knowing that everything important is in one place and easy to access.
My folder contains, not necessarily in this order:
Social Security number
Doctors phone numbers
Medications I take with doses and strength.
Blood type and allergies, if any
People who should be notified when I die and phone numbers
A copy of my birth certificate for death certificate information
Copy of a Durable Power of Attorney if you have one. If you don’t, get one.
Bank and Savings account numbers and phone numbers
Safe Deposit box, number and where
Investments including stock with account number & contact person, phone number
Annuity contact account number, person, phone
Insurance companies, such as life, medical, automobile, or other, account numbers
Mortgage or rent payment, company, phone
Recurring bills such as utilities, newspaper, phone. All account numbers
Credit card numbers, including security # on reverse and expiration, phone
Household appliances serial numbers and contact numbers
Associations I belong to with phone numbers
Where I keep my keys
Whether or not you have a will are there items you would like to pass on to certain people?
It might come as a surprise to your descendants that the Social Security Agency will require the return of the last check sent to you if your death occurred in that month. Checks arrive on the 3rd of the month. If you pass away on the 1st or 2nd or at any time in that month they will request the return of the money. So, tell your descendants not to cash the check.
Some of these things are for current purposes and others are for your descendants. Some are relevant in either case. You might want to put them in order of importance to you. When you have finished, save it, print it and put it in a binder. Put the binder in a safe place that is easily accessible in case of fire, flood, earthquake or other disaster. Make sure that the binder you choose has a zipper closing to prevent loss of pages. Then once a year, or more often if things change, update it and keep it current. You might want to let someone you trust know that you have done this and where it is. You could be unable to communicate.
I feel a sense of peace in knowing that my daughter will not have to go through piles of papers to find what she might need to deal with at a difficult time. It is a responsible and considerate service for her. And the information that I need is accessible to me when I need it. It works in more than one case.