No one likes to plan for when they will no longer be around, but emergencies do happen. If you are the primary point person in your home, you’re in charge of more than just the bills. You make your house run smoothly every day. A lot goes into that, maybe more than your spouse and children even know. If that is the case, you need to have an in-case-of-emergency plan!
Whether you pass away unexpectedly or an accident happens that leaves you unable to execute important day-to-day functions, you need a plan in place. “When life throws you a curve, being organized is important,” says Nancy Doyle, CFA, author of the forthcoming book, Manage Your Financial Life. “Our financial lives are very complex and with privacy laws, the way they are it can be very difficult to access a loved one’s email and accounts if there’s an emergency.” Nancy Doyle has given tips for creating a simple ICE plan – check out the tips below!
1. Have all of your paperwork in one place
You need an ICE File (in-case-of-emergency), so you need to grab all of the important paperwork for that and keep them together. This should include birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, military records, social security cards, and any legal documents (power of attorney, health care directive, mortgage, and the titles to your house and car).
2. Have photocopies of your IDs
In this file, you’ll also want photocopies of your driver’s license, passport, and your credit cards.
3. Make sure everything is stored safely
The biggest thing here is where you store all of this. Important documents should always be in a safe place, in case you’re robbed or if there ever was a fire. You can get a fireproof box to keep in your home that comes with a lock. If you don’t want it in the house, a safety deposit box at the bank is a safe location as well.
Another important factor is you need to tell someone else where this box is in the house and/or at the bank. Either tell your spouse, children, close friends, parents, and/or all of the above. So long as they are a deeply trusted person in your life, it doesn’t hurt to let them know.
4. Make an emergency contact list
Now, this isn’t a list of people who should be contacted in your friends or family. This is a list for the family member (spouse, child) that is taking care of things after something has happened to you. It will be a list of people they should know to contact. So, you’ll include your lawyer, banker, investment adviser, insurance agent, and your accountant. You can neatly list this out on an Excel spreadsheet. It is smart to include their name, cell phone number, office number, email address, and the company they work for.
5. Make a list of your important accounts
To streamline your ICE plan, you will want to keep a list of all of your accounts, so your loved ones know what to tackle. You will list your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and investments. Include all of the information (account number) someone would need to access this.
You can also list all of your open accounts, like credit cards, cable & internet, electric, and any memberships you pay for monthly/annually.
6. Leave instructions for bills
Look at your monthly and annual bills and make a list, breaking them down by how often they are paid and what account they are paid from. If anything is set up for automatic payments, make an annotation of that in your file.
7. Share your passwords
In order for this all to work, if you are no longer around or able to take of things, the new person in charge will need access to everything. Give them your email passwords, the login information for all of your bills that you pay online, and any security codes that they may possibly need.
8. Finally, walk someone through the entire plan
At the end of the day, you need to walk someone through this plan step by step. You can show them how to login into everything, how and when to call people from your emergency list, show them where the box is and how to access it. Have them run through a mock trial and see if they have any questions along the way.
H/T: Reader’s Digest
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