The Top 5 Pieces of Information People Want Their Loved Ones to Have in an Emergency
By Katherine Crowell
August 19, 2020
It's easy to avoid planning for emergencies when they seem far away and sometimes implausible. But not having emergency or contingency plans for your family can end up leaving people you care about in a compromising position during an already challenging time.
Whether it's a serious, life-changing event — or just a little close call — having some level of preparation can prevent a scary or difficult situation from being even worse.
Thankfully, there are plenty of easy and inexpensive steps you can take to better prepare for moments that aren't fully in your control.
We asked a diverse set of survey participants what would matter to them during an emergency, including documents they may want or need. Here are the top five from counting from five (fifth-most important) down to one (the most important).
5. Health & medical benefits
With medical expenses continuing to rise, it’s no wonder that health and medical benefits made it on the list in position number five. Not only do you want your family to have sufficient medical coverage, it’s also important to have access to that information during unexpected moments. It’s crucial to have your insurance card, account number, and emergency contacts available in a place that’s easy to find.
If you don’t feel like you have the best coverage for your family right now, it’s always worth getting coverage you can for the time being. Then, you can mark your calendar for open enrollment dates in the fall to compare rates and reevaluate.
4. Pension & retirement plans
Pensions and retirement plans make a ton of sense. They provide a source of funds or investment that should pass to your loved ones if something were to happen to you.
These kinds of accounts are often closely tied to your life’s work, how you’ve
spent your time, and how you’ve invested the money you made along the way. Many of these kinds of accounts are tax-free and/or contributed to by employers, so they’re no-brainers for most people.
If you’re not around to enjoy the fruits of your labor, then you certainly hope that your family can.
Did you know that the average person today has more than 90 passwords to remember? With almost every part of our lives going online, it’s no wonder that passwords made the list.
In theory, if your family knows your passwords, then they can access pretty much anything they need to — whether that’s bank accounts, utility bills, or health insurance information. If you use a password manager like 1Password, Lastpass, or Dashlane, then all you need to do is share the password to the password manager and you’re set.
2. Bank & credit accounts
Your family knows you have a bank account and a credit card, but do they know about all the accounts and credit cards? Sharing the details of all your liquid accounts means that none of your finances will be lost or misplaced.
Institutions can’t just keep your unclaimed money. But, they can and do charge you fees and eventually, your money will be escheated—this means that governments can take ownership of unclaimed assets in some cases, after someone dies.
To prevent this, make sure to list a beneficiary and backup on all your financial accounts. While this doesn’t as much apply to credit cards, your family can ask the estate to pay back your debts.
1. Life insurance
The number one piece of information that people want their family to know about is the life insurance policy and related details. Who to call to claim the proceeds, what exactly the policy is worth, and who are the benefactors.
Like bank and credit card accounts, life insurance represents funds that can be used for any necessary expenses, paying down debts, paying off the mortgage, ticking off bucket list items, or providing for children and their educational or other life needs.
Life insurance policies usually payout in a couple of weeks to 45 days, meaning there’s a fairly immediate source of funds. It’s not unheard of for families to discover life insurance policies long after the fact. While your family members could make claims eventually, think about the difference it would make in the short term if claimed immediately. Life insurance companies require a death certificate, policy document, and claim form to file a life insurance claim. Does your family know about your life insurance policy details?
What you can do to prepare
You can take steps today to prepare your family for a variety of scenarios. For example, those steps may include:
Preparing for natural disasters. Natural disasters and climate events are on the rise. Beyond bank accounts and access to money, your family will also benefit from actions like making a communication plan, stocking up emergency supply kit essentials, and having a to-go bag ready with items like a flashlight and first aid kit.
Making sure your beneficiary information is up-to-date. Doing this for all of your bank accounts and finances will prevent any disputes or delayed distribution of funds down the road.
Organizing your family information in one place. Between medical information, life insurance, and emergency preparedness, modern families have a lot to keep track of. Using a smart information management system can prepare your family for the unexpected.
Make use of an online information management system
Trustworthy’s family operating system™ makes it easy for you to prepare for life’s unexpected moments, including:
Access to family and beneficiary information
Vital medical and estate information
Power of attorney
Emergency contact information
Letter to guardians
Fire extinguisher information
Make sure to add your life insurance policy and other top items to your Trustworthy file. It’s easy to get started and you can add the top five pieces of information in a few minutes, which means your family will be organized and prepared for unexpected moments. With an online information management system, you won’t have to worry about physical copies of things. For instance, if there’s a fire in your home, your documents will be safe.
Online file management is something that you can count on from Trustworthy. If you’re ready to take care of these critically important items and have them completely secured, get started today with an online information management system of your own.