Tips to Prepare an Emergency Grab-and-Go File
As we have witnessed the devastation Katrina, recent storms in Haiti and other locations across the glob has caused, many of us have wondered what we would do if we were faced with the same situation. What would we take with us if our Mayor ordered a full community evacuation? Would you be able to make decisions as quickly as necessary? Would you know where important papers or documents were located in your home? Residents and business owners of those horrible storms were faced with these questions and many more.
Creating an “Emergency Grab and Go File” is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that in times of stress, emergency or grief, you are not compounding the situation by not knowing where important documents and contact information are.
To tailor the list to your specific situation, double-check with personal professionals to ensure all bases are covered for you or yours.
Having all of your critical information accessible for both your business and your personal life is critical in times of emergency. Try to be matter-of-fact about this. It seems awful to even consider it, but having the systems and plans in place well ahead of a tragedy such as a serious illness or natural disaster will dramatically reduce the stress at an already very stressful time.
Items to Include in Your Grab-and-Go File
Creating an emergency file can be a valuable source of information for family or friend, in need of information on your behalf. Store the contents in an area that has easy access. Some of this information can be in the form of business cards. Once you create it, let someone know it is there.
- Legal Information
- Copy of Living Will and location of original version
- Copy of Will and location of original version
- Power of Attorney Health Care
- Power of Attorney Property
- Details of Trusts/Judgments for and against You
- Estate Arrangements
- Identification Information
- Social Security Card and Related Information
- Birth and Death Certificates
- Marriage and Divorce Documents
- Education certificates, degrees, etc.
- Copies of the front and back of all cards in family member’s wallets
- Important Names and Contact Information:
- Name, Address, and Phone number of Your Nearest Relative or Friend
- Doctors: Medical Doctor, Dentist, Chiropractor, etc.
- Insurance Agency/Agent
- Accountant or Bookkeeper
- Investment Broker and Files Location
- Insurance Details
- Personal Information & Photos
- Wedding or baby photos
- Current photos of all family members
- Important medical information such as allergies
- Prescription medication you are on
- Location of Important Documents not in the file
- Location of Valuables
- Employment and Benefit Information
- Include names, numbers and contact information
- Income Sources – from what location and frequency
- Banking account numbers and contact information
- Banking/Credit Union Information
- Retirement Fund(s) Information
- Investment Information
- Savings Information
- Mortgage Documents
- Safe Deposit Box Location, Contents and Signers with Access Authority
- Include official documentation of authority or copy
- Fire Lock Box/Safe Deposit Box Inventory
- Any Documents that would be difficult to replace
- Incorporation papers
- Log-in information to critical websites
- Tell a Friend or Family Member Where the Information is Located
Ensuring that you know where all of your important documents are in the event of an emergency will allow you to be in control of the situation and recovery from the emergency that much faster. If you would like more free ideas for how to make your home, work and life run with less stress then let's talk.
What have you done to ensure that you are ready for an emergency?