28 February 2009
ARE YOU PREPARED?
When you come across something on the net that really should be passed along, it is a good idea to do it. I didn't create this list, but it is too essential not to share it with as many people as possible. We've all been told what to have on hand for emergency survival as to food, medicine, shelter etc. But few of us stop to think about the every day information that someone else might need to know if you couldn't tell them?
How many of you are prepared in case of an emergency? Would your next-of-kin or loved one know where to find the information about banks, insurance policies, credit cards, and how to pay bills? Do you have a list of utilities, doctors, medications, lawyers, and people to notify if necessary? Do you have advance directives? Do you have a will? Are you a member of the sandwich generation – taking of your parents? Do you know their information?
In an Arizona Republic article from December 2007, broad categories and information are suggested that professional organizers, financial experts and life coaches believe spouses and significant others should gather and share.
These suggestions are for anyone – the lists can be simple or more detailed. Apply them to your own life. I’m sure software applications are available for this type of record keeping or you can design your own. Just be prepared! Another thing to remember is to keep your records up-to-date because things do change.
One very important note, be sure to keep the information in a safe place in at least two locations since it won't do you any good in the computer in the house that just burned down:
• Banking, savings accounts and household budgets
Record passwords and PIN numbers that access accounts. Also share where the checkbook is or online-checking passwords.
List the name of the person who does the taxes and where copies of back tax returns and documents for this tax year can be found.
• Credit cards
Compile all account numbers and outstanding debts along with phone numbers in case you need to cancel accounts.
• Power of attorney
If you have assets you don’t own jointly, each spouse should have a power of attorney for the other and then store the information in a safe place.
Include names of lenders, amounts owed, account numbers, passwords and a phone number.
• Retirement plans
Become familiar with the other spouse’s pension plans, 401(k) accounts, IRAs and Social Security benefit statements.
Compile the company name, phone numbers, maintenance records and passwords necessary for the following:
• Itemized list of household contents
Write a list or video your household possessions. This will be invaluable in case of a fire and proof is necessary for replacement.
List contact information for doctors, lawyers, financial advisers, investment professionals and others.
• Utilities and bills
Includes gas, water, electric, telephone and cable-TV service with account numbers where appropriate. Write down information for other bills, too.
• Contractors and service workers
Include repair workers for plumbing, air-conditioning, auto repair, odd jobs and irrigation systems.
This category includes children, aging parents and pets. Information should include:
Keep a list of medications and dosages taken by children, parents and pets.
• Relatives and friends
In the event that something happens to either spouse or to both, list the names of relatives and friends who should be notified.
List the names and phone numbers of people who watch your children or care for elderly parents and pets. Remember to include doctors and the preferred hospital to go to in case of an emergency.