Emergency preparedness goes beyond organizing your stuff. It starts with a will, durable power of attorney and legal documents and moves to online passwords and your digital life. We all have important documents that we need access to during our lifetime and that our loved ones might need access to in the future. With the time we have, it’s a great time to organize these papers and more.
Tools to get organized
In an emergency, the last thing that should be an obstacle is locating paperwork. We need easy access to health insurance details, medical information, and advance directives. Estate plans, financial and insurance information, property and business interests should be documented and organized. Your digital life and passwords are also key to ensuring that information can easily be accessed.
Clients have often asked me how to do this and what is easiest to accomplish what seems like an overwhelming accumulation of data. There is a comprehensive system called My Life Packet (www.mylifepacket.com.) It is an organizational tool that walks you through what you need to collect, record, and share. (Note I have no financial gain from sharing this tool.)
In My Life Packet, you can pace yourself to consolidate the documents you need. By taking inventory of what documents you have and where they are located can save everyone time, money, and stress. It is about peace of mind to have all these documents ready.
Time to get organized
Like all projects, take a big picture on organizing your important papers.
- What do you want the end to look like? Is this an electronic document or a binder with papers?
- What do already have accumulated?
- Can you spend an hour at a time assembling these documents?
- Who else in your family will you share this?
Time to share your documents
Documents like these are a gift to yourself and your family. Take this project on, like all big projects, as a way to share important conversations. According to Real Simple, there are 4 important family meetings all families need. These include the “Senior Summit” to discuss life documents, care and more. Having a Senior Summit is for all ages, not just seniors. It’s not a one and done conversation in that as decisions can change and be updated. Set a date as a deadline to start your first conversation.
Here is a basic list of what you will be needing to get started.