No matter what chapter of life you find yourself in, chances are your important documents could use some organizing. A paper trail is a thing of the modern ages, off the grid or not, we all have one. So when it comes to being prepared, this is something that often gets put on the back burner and really needs some attention. Now most of you know the most essential document that protects you and your family amidst tragedy is a Will, but really in this day and age we need to look a little further then that. Don’t be the only one in your household that knows where all the important information that your life operates around is located. For your sanity, why not put it all into one golden document or spreadsheet, make a digital copy that’s easy to update and then file that baby away in a fireproof safe. You will have a functional tool to operate from, and you and your family are covered.
So, what should this golden document encompass?
#1 Family Identification
Document the location of all the important documents for your family. These can include birth certificates, social security cards, passports, adoption records, marriage and death certificates, birth dates, legal names, medical documents and any other legal documents you feel need identifying.
#2 Important Contacts
Make a section that lays out important contact information for all family members, relatives and close friends. You may also include legal professionals, insurance companies, financial advisors or any other persons who may be responsible for maintaining records.
Take the time to sit down and detail all assets. These may include real estate, vehicles, valuables, deeds, financial assets such as bank accounts, investments and stocks. Be sure to detail serial or VIN numbers where necessary.
Maintain updated records for loan information and amounts, credit cards, mortgage and personal lending. Be sure to include specific information about agreements as well as the location of documentation.
Having proper details regarding personal, medical and property insurance information quickly accessible in case of an emergency will provide all with peace of mind. Include phone numbers, policy numbers, and usernames and or passwords for online databases.
Include account numbers for utility companies, and it would also be helpful to include payment information, frequency of billing and important details of any agreements. Contact numbers for billing companies can help bring a quicker stop to unwanted services, in turn avoiding being inundated with overdue notices.
#7 Emergency Plan
This section should include your emergency contact plan (see our previous article), meeting places and locations of emergency supplies. We strongly encourage everyone to have a Go Bag in their vehicles, and a bigger Emergency Preparedness Bag or Bug Out Bag easily accessible in the house somewhere. Make sure even the young members of your family know where supplies are stored and practice with relevant drills so things may be less chaotic amidst an emergency.
#8 Final arrangements
A will and living trust are necessary for helping your family make decisions in case of your death or incapacitation. All adult family members should have a legal will, as well as written instructions for any actions desired in case of death. This is particularly important in families with children or other dependents, in order to provide for their future and indicate who should be responsible for their safety. Be certain to discuss your plans and desires with close family members and entrust them with your wishes.
#9 Homestead or Property Journal
Update regular seasonal logs about what you do to your property, how the homestead is made to be productive, plans for future development, and the location of needed equipment and supplies. Enter relevant information about livestock and pets, as well, including veterinary records, pedigrees and directives for ensuring their health. If you do not plan to have your next of kin run your homestead in the event of your death, a detailed plan about how to divide and liquidate assets should be included in your will.
Providing your family with the tools to pick up the pieces in a worst-case scenario is a realistic approach to guaranteeing their continued prosperity and safety. Do yourself a huge favor, be prepared and don’t leave them stranded.
Source: Off The Grid News