- Leslie Goss
It's a New Year: Let's Get Organized!
As one year ends and the new one begins, one often hears, “So, what’s your New Year’s
Let’s be truthful. Despite our best intentions, many of them fall by the wayside – even
some of the important ones.
The one I’m proposing isn’t flashy or exciting, in many ways, but it can be truly valuable.
Do you have a “contingency notebook?” Perhaps you do, but you call it by another name ~ your “emergency file” or your “crisis notebook” ~ or maybe you haven’t put one together yet.
There’s no time like the present!
A contingency notebook is a binder containing all the information a loved one or personal representative needs to know should you become seriously incapacitated or even die. When tragedy strikes, it’s no time to go through drawers, filing cabinets and shoeboxes looking for pertinent information. Those who bear responsibility for your affairs need the relevant material immediately.
Your up-to-date contingency notebook can make all the difference.
Buy a good-sized notebook and 12 dividers. Here we go!
1) Action List. Specify the immediate and secondary steps one should follow if
something happens to you.
2) Key Contacts. List family members, friends, professional advisors and others who
should be informed of your condition.
3) Medical Notes. List any medical problems and treatments. Identify types and
locations of medicines. Name your doctors and provide contact information.
4) Financial Accounts (savings, checking, brokerage, credit, debit, etc.). Include account
numbers, customer service phone numbers and a copy of a past statement for each account.
5) Insurance. Include life, accident, disability, auto and health policy information.
Summarize your coverage and/or include a copy of the coverage page from each policy. Identify insurance agent(s) and phone numbers.
6) Business Interests. Include copies of contracts and outline action to take.
7) Asset Inventory. List your major possessions (autos, real estate, etc.)
8) Funeral Instructions. Identify your wishes concerning the funeral service and burial.
Also include your desire for memorials (and may we suggest that you consider a gift to benefit your community through your Community Foundation of White County?).
9) Estate Planning Documents. Include copies of your will, power of attorney, living
will or directive to physicians, trusts and other items. Also, specify where the original of each
document can be found.
10) Charitable Commitments. Summarize your charitable involvements, including your
interest in supporting or establishing an endowment fund with the Community Foundation. This will help your family know what organizations you support during life, and why.
11) Personal Items. Include biographical information that can be used in preparing your
obituary. Summarize your values and purpose in life. You might also provide personal notes to each family member expressing your love and hopes for them.
For the sake of your loved ones, we urge you to get started with your contingency book
right away. Show it to your family and tell them where they can find it. It will provide great
peace of mind…for you and for them.
OR…if you don’t want to organize your own, or would like some guidance, CFWC has a
planning document that might be helpful – and it’s free! Just call to request one. It’s a great
way to start the new year!
For more information, or for additional planning materials, contact Community
Foundation of White County Director Leslie Goss at 574-583-6911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.