How to Make an Emergency File
An “In Case of Emergency” file can save you time and heartache
If something happened to you today, would your loved ones know where to find all your important information and documents? Setting up an ICE file – an “in case of emergency” file – gives everyone peace of mind in the event of the unexpected.
What goes in your Emergency file, or ICE:
- Legal and financial documents – Including your will, power of attorney, medical directive, health records, social security card, marriage certificate, military records, home and car titles, mortgage, insurance policies, credit cards and investment records.
- Copies of identification documents – Such as your passport, driver’s license, and birth certificate.
- Emergency contact information – Including your lawyer, accountant, investment manager, insurance agent, and doctors.
Storing and sharing your ICE file:
- A small, fire-proof safe is an inexpensive option for storing all your documents at home. For added security, ask your bank about a safety deposit box. (Remember to make a copy of any keys for your loved ones to access the file.)
- Though some information can be stored online for ease of access with solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox, it’s probably best to store less sensitive documents there, such as contact information.
- Talk to your loved ones about the ICE file – where it is, what’s in it, and who has access.
- Make sure your lawyer, accountant, investment manager, and insurance agent all know to whom they’re allowed to divulge personal information.
What about passwords?
Password security is on everyone’s minds lately. Keep yours safe, even with your ICE file, by storing them in a password manager (like 1password.com or LastPass.com) and giving emergency access to a trusted person. You can also export passwords securely into an encrypted file, which can then be shared safely.