Estate planners often counsel their clients to create powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and to take other steps should something go terribly wrong. If, for example, you get involved in a car accident, your estate plan will ensure that your family knows the kinds of medical care you want to receive and will be able to manage your finances.
However, there are some more basic, and practical, steps you can take to better prepare for such an emergency. You can prepare a simple folder that contains all of the vital personal information that your family might need to know yet would be unable to find if you are no longer around.
This death book, or emergency book, should contain a list of your financial assets, contact information for important people in your life and pertinent medical information or other facts about you that your family may not know.
You can also include more practical information, such as a home maintenance schedule that lists the regular tasks you need to perform on your house or property. You can also include information about your pets, club memberships, personal items or anything else you think your family will need to know about.
Of course, if you include personal and confidential information you want to make sure that you keep your notebook in a safe place. You also need to make sure that a trusted friend, family member or advisor knows about the book and where to find it should the need arise.