If you were to experience an emergency, tragedy, illness, or even untimely death, would your loved ones have access to critical contact information and documents they would need to respond appropriately and carry on your affairs?
If not, you should seriously consider creating a document or checklist that has all of your vital information in it, as well as save a secure encrypted file for all your important software passwords. Most people take the time to develop last testament and will, yet many of the same people do not think about other emergencies that might require a loved ones’ access to critical information.
Almost everyone would agree that they would never want to be a burden to loved ones, yet they are in fact doing just that if they don’t provide information and access to critical life documents. Some of these documents include: legal documents such as your will, a living will or health care directive; power of attorney; financial information; insurance information; health records; emergency contact information; personal documents like your birth certificate, passport, and social security card; and location and contact information for everything listed above that is considered a vital record.
In addition, if you have any passwords associated with your online financial information or any other important information, you must be sure they are safe! You should consider using a third party passport manager and save down an encrypted file so that your passwords will not be stolen. Then give your loved ones a password hint to be able to open the encrypted file. Don’t store the passwords themselves on any file or piece of paper.
If you are married, you and your spouse should prepare separate checklists, then share them with your children and/or other key family members or professional advisors who you anticipate will intervene in case of an emergency. You should review your checklist every year, to make sure all the information is complete. Don’t forget things like lockbox keys, address books, ATM or credit cards, etc. Not all important items are documents or accounts.
Sound like a lot of work? It really isn’t, and it is well worth it for the peace of mind you and your loved ones will have. You can make your checklist as short or long as you like – but be sure to include the most critical information at a bare minimum.
To get you started, Hanscom FCU has compiled a list of the top 25 items you should include for most important and basic vital records. You can easily fill out this checklist, and share it with your loved ones in case of an emergency or unforeseen event. You can also add more items to the list as needed. Click here to download this checklist now.
Have any thoughts on what else you’d like to include on the checklist? Share your comments below!