The Emergency Instructions Folder

In this day and age, most of us are aware of the importance of having a will, including instructions on cremation/burial, last wishes, and how we want our assets disposed of. But how many of us are the primary persons in our homes who handle the bills, banking, all that fun stuff? Does your spouse or significant other know where to find those financial records? Do they know how to log into the various online accounts?

Further to that point, a lot of us have made close friends online. People we may never have met in person but yet you’d want them to know if something were to happen to you.

It doesn’t even need to be a fatality. Could be you’re in an accident and unable to pass along necessary information until you recover.

Sit down and assemble a folder or notebook with this information. Start with a list of all your online accounts — banking, credit cards, utilities, and email addresses. Your family will need to know how to log into each of those accounts. For financial accounts requiring regular payments, be sure to note any special instructions, such as due dates and whether the payments must be made in a certain way.

Include a list of people you want notified if something happens to you. One friend of mine even has gone so far as to draft emails to close friends, saving them in a special folder in her email program, with instructions to send them out upon her passing.

Don’t forget your social networking accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as your regular online hangouts like Yahoo Groups or message boards.

Also good to have is a list of all bank accounts (checking, savings, money markets, etc.), including the names of the banks, account numbers, and any information necessary for your family to access the accounts. Without that information, it can take several weeks to months to get through all the legal red tape.

If you have supplies or valuables stashed somewhere, you might want to note that as well so your family knows where to look.

Naturally, with all this private information, you’ll want to keep this notebook or folder locked up or otherwise very well hidden from prying eyes.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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