What to get my wife for Mother’s Day? Beyond the requisite flowers, dinner out, or Whitman’s Sampler, what to give? At various times my wife has asked me: “What am I supposed to do in an emergency?” “What if you get very sick, or worse….?” “Whom do I call?” “Where do I look for your insurance papers, information on your pension, etc?”
When I showed her where I keep our vital documents, she replied: “How can anyone find anything in there?” So, I got a loose-leaf notebook with plenty of tabs and set to work. The first page lists critical phone numbers: Whom to call regarding my pension, our retirement accounts, insurance companies, long-term care, etc. Next, a table of contents. Then the tabs:
Tab A – An article titled, “Checklist for Surviving Spouses” (an article from an investment magazine). And a list of our bank accounts, retirement plans with their numbers, etc. Tab B – Face sheets from our insurance policies and long-term care plans. Tab C – Copy of my Will. Tab D – A spreadsheet listing the Passwords and PIN numbers for websites such as banks, insurance companies, phone and cable companies, and so on. Also under that tab are pages where I scanned the fronts and backs of my credit cards, drivers license, Medicare ID, and other information I carry in my wallet. Another page contains the front and back of our passports. Tab E – Copies of our Advance Medical Directives and Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Financial matters. Tab F – Funeral Arrangements
What I thought would require days took only a few hours. I’m sure there are items I didn’t think of. As soon as I recall them, I’ll pop them in the notebook. My wife reviewed it, thanked me for putting everything in one binder, and now stores it where she can easily access it. Done! P.S. If you want expert help assembling your vital information check: www.documentroadmap.com. Among its services, it scans, organizes, and transfers copies of your vital documents to a USB memory stick. Clever, no?
Beyond Dispute Associates
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Debra Healy says
Thank you so much! The timing couldn’t be better.
Last night, I learned my mother is in the hospital. When I spoke with my dad, he said “I don’t know who makes decisions.”
My father, the hall-of-fame college basketball player and former VP of a Fortune 500 company, now 80 years old, wasn’t even sure where my mom kept my phone number.
When my mom’s feeling better, we’re going to pull the scattered family together and come up some plans. It’s time to set aside the “we don’t want to be a burden” story. We’ve all outgrown it.
Carolyn Parr says
Thanks for your story. Your family is not unusual. I commend you for taking the lead here.