We keep what we call a Family Bible. EVERYONE should have one.
My OCD kicked in one day and I began to collect all the documents that I deemed important enough to be saved in the event of a catastrophe here on our Homestead. That stack of papers grew from a few to a 3″ three ring binder with sheet protectors, plastic zip pockets and pocketed dividers.
This Binder or Bible – as I refer to it contains everything that anyone would need to continue to run this household / farm efficiently – including the kids – should my husband, myself or God forbid both of us perish.
It’s designed so that ANYONE left responsible for my children, my home or my animals, can pick it up and carry on without a hiccup.
It is kept in our fireproof safe rather than a Safe Deposit Box b/c you must designate ONE person to allow into your SDB and if that person is your spouse and they perish with you or they are incapacitated your information is under lock and key until a court order allows the bank to let someone access it. That takes time and money that your kids and farm cannot afford. I have also sent a copy of our most important papers to the person who will inherit all of this gloriousness.
I busted it all down into sections to make it easier for me to update every 6 months to account for ANY changes. I try to update as household and lifestyle changes are made throughout the year, but I ALWAYS sit down every 6 months and clean it up and clean it out. It includes:
- BASIC EMERGENCY INFORMATION
Our Name, Address, Phone
Place of Work with Phone
Family Members Essential Information – Name, DOB, SS# Extended Family Members + Contact Info – for both my hubs and myself Local Family to Contact Out of State Contacts Important Medical Information + Prescriptions + Pharmacy
- BUSINESS CARDS
There is a business card for every person that we have an association with on a professional, medical or personal level.
On each card, I have WRITTEN that relationship on the back for ease of reference.
- PROOF OF OWNERSHIP
House & Land
Signed but blank Quit Claim Deed (In the event that spouse or other is NOT on Deed, or so my kids or my executor can gain ownership without going through court or paying inheritance taxes) Mortgage Contracts •Vehicle Titles / Loan Contracts • Catalogue of Personal Items Jewelry – photos, receipts Antiques Firearms – photos, serial numbers, identifying marks, receipts Electronic Devices – photos, serial numbers & receipts Tools – Photos, serial numbers & receipts In lieu of photos, a flash drive with video of all items will suffice
- WHERE’S THE MONEY
Bank Account Information
Including each account #, DEBIT Card # and Safe Deposit Box Authorization •Stock Certificates • Savings Bonds • 401K Documents • Roth IRA Docs • Pension Docs • Tax Returns – at least 3 years •Proof of Outstanding / Paid in Full Loan Contracts
- THE ESSENTIALS
Last Will & Testament
Social Security Cards
High School / College Diplomas
- HEALTH CARE CONFIDENTIALITY
Personal & Family Medical History
Physician Name & Number
Date and Nature of any major surgeries
Prescriptions & Pharmacy Information
- Durable Health Care Power of Attorney
Health Care Disclosure
Designation of Health Care Surrogate
Children’s Immunization Records
Children’s Finger Print Records
Blank, Signed Authorization to Treat a Minor Form A Blank form allows whomever you assign as Guardian for your children upon your death, the legal ability to make medical decisions for your children immediately rather than waiting for the courts to acknowledge your LW&T •Updated 6 month Color Photo of all Family members <<<< This is NOT your Christmas / Easter / Mothers’d Day picture. These are individual, up close, as in face-fills-the-screen head shots so that even the off colored flecks of your kids iris can be seen. INSURANCE •Home Owners Policy • Auto Insurance Policy • Health Insurance Documents > Copies of Insurance cards, front and back should be included
Dental Insurance Documents
Copies of Insurance cards, front and back should be included
Life Insurance Policies
Verify, at least yearly, with each of these companies. Some will automatically carry an Accidental Death Benefit Rider. Even some banks allow for a minimal automatic survivor benefit as a courtesy for account holders.
- THE FARM
Basic List of all animals in residence
UTD Health Documents
Receipts / Proof of Ownership / Registration Documents
Photo with notes of distinguishing marks / tattoos/ bands or branding Record of Sale Breeding Records Farm Equipment Photos, Serial Numbers, Receipts, Loan Docs, Insurance Crop Information Seed Supplier Plant / Harvest Dates Market Specifics / Contracts
- MONTHLY BILLS
Service / Company / Phone / Web Address / Account # Monthly Amount Due / Due Date How it’s paid – via webpage, debit, Credit Card, Bill Pay Web Username / Password / Security ?’s & Answers
- WEB INFORMATION
Any Web Pages we are associated with (Paypal? Ebay? Amazon?) Email Address / Password / Security ?’s and Answers for all
- FRIENDS AND FOES
Without fail, tragedy brings fine folks and freaks out of the wood works. I keep a list of those whom my heart has accepted as friend and those whom my instincts tell me not to trust. If I am not here to protect my children, the person I make guardian will surely have knowledge of who I did not trust and why.
And last but certainly not least.. a REAL Bible as well 🙂
Of course there are some very specific documents included in some of these sections that are specific legal documents necessary for legal action. I keep those on file as well.
Good luck ya’ll.