WHAT’S IN YOUR “RED FILE”?
With all of your planning– do you feel prepared for the sudden emergency phone call?
Let’s face it, despite careful preparation, emergencies can happen.
Imagine you get an unexpected call and must spring into action. Perhaps the caller informs you that you need to get to the hospital quickly. Or maybe you discover there is a fire headed your way and you need to evacuate. Now!
Are you Prepared to Run Out of the House Quickly?
Will you remember everything you need to take with you?
Maybe you will remember to grab a family photo album, but will you also remember to take the important items you might need? Will you remember or have time to get your passports, birth certificates, original estate planning documents, home insurance information, prescriptions, social security cards, or other important documentation?
How long would it take to get these items together if you were forced to do it quickly? Would you have enough time? Would your kids or pets slow you down in any way?
Unless you planned ahead, it’s likely you won’t have enough time to grab all of the important items.
What kind of planning is needed?
Well, consider putting your important documents together in an easy-to-carry file. This kind of file is sometimes referred to as a “Red File.”
An organized Red Plan might save you precious minutes, and perhaps even provide you with more time to do other important things before you run out the door.
Also, a red file may also make it easier for others to find important documents, if you weren’t able to retrieve them yourself.
What should go inside your Red File?
Although it’s best for each person to put their own thought into this question, here are some common items you might consider including in your Red File:
List of Contact Information
Immediate Family Members—mobile phone numbers and email addresses
Primary Care Physician
Financial Power of Attorney Agent
Healthcare Power of Attorney Agent
Executor / Personal Representative
Social Security Cards
Certificate of Divorce
Durable Power of Attorney (Financial)
Most Recent Tax Return
Bank Statement(s) and Online Account Information
Investment/Stock Account Statement(s) and Online Account Information
Credit Card Statements and Account Information
Recent Mortgage Statement (or Lease/Rental Agreement)
Recent Utility Invoices:
Other Account Information
Automobile Title (“Pink Slip”)
Vital health information for each family member, including
House Insurance Policy
Earthquake Insurance Policy
Health Insurance Policy
Short- and Long-Term Disability Insurance Policy
Life Insurance Policy
Vehicle Insurance Policy
Pet Insurance Policy
Burial Insurance Policy
Last Will & Testament
Health Care Power of Attorney (Advance Healthcare Directive)
(This list is not exhaustive! Please consider your situation, and decide for yourself.)
Remember to keep your Red File someplace which is not only safe, but also easy to access.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that other family members are told where to find the Red File.
None of us can predict the future. And none of us know what unexpected emergency could befall us. But we can do our best to prepare.