Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prepared Binder - Home Edition in Detail

Every few weeks I get a request or two for a detailed explanation of what is in Prepared Binder - Home Edition.  I usually shoot off a quick email to the interested person and do it again for the next person who asks.  As the Holiday Season is coming up and I am likely to field numerous requests, I thought I would do a detailed description here for all to see.

Prepared Binder as a company was started after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Watching thousands of people flee their homes was overwhelming.  Hearing their stories was heartbreaking.  What I heard over and over was," I don't have anything, not even my birth certificate or the information to register my child for school."  I heard one interview with a man who lived in a shelter for weeks because he had no way to get his money out of his own bank account.

After I started the process of designing Prepared Binder my grandmother was evacuated from the fires in southern California.  We watched firsthand as she tried to gather the paperwork she needed to get her social security check and forward her prescriptions to a new address.  It was a mess and very time consuming.

Prepared Binder is broken up into 8 tabbed sections.  Each tab acts as a table of contents for that section with a list of what forms we have given you to fill out and what documentation you need to collect for yourself.

The following is a list of sections and related content:

Personal Information - This section contains vital statistics, a list of previous residences a small genealogy, employment history and education record.  This information is important when looking over credit reports to make sure the information is correct.  It can also prove valuable when writing an obituary for a loved one.  Important documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, adoption papers, divorce decrees, copies of passports and driver's licenses should be stored here. 

Medical Information - This section contains medical histories, broken down on forms specific to adults, adolescents and children.  It includes specific questions about allergies, past medical procedures and illnesses. There is also a detailed chart which helps you document family medical histories.  A separate form has medical contacts such as the family doctor, specialists and your dentist.  This information can be vital in cases of medical emergency.  Many times the only person who knows the complete medical history is the person unable to give it.  Having allergies, past procedures and doctor contacts can speed treatment and improve the quality of care.

Insurance Information - This section contains a detailed list of  insurance contact information, as well as policy and payment information.  One section details employee benefits and employer contact data.  A section for a home inventory is also included.  As insurance information is frequently used during an emergency or after an accident, it is important to have policies and contact information available for quick use.

Financial Information - This section includes a contact list for all household expenses, bank accounts, investment companies and retirement accounts.  There is also a section to outline your monthly budget.  After a death in the family the financial arrangements can be much more complicated than the funeral itself.  Relatives rarely know what bills to expect, what bank accounts are tied to automatic withdrawals, what company holds the mortgage, and where the retirement accounts were held.  Listing out that information can be the difference between quick resolution and endless fact finding. 

Emergency Plan - This section helps you organize your emergency plan and contacts.  Forms in this section summarize your family's vital information and evacuation plan.  There is also an inventory for emergency supplies so you can identify where you store everything.

Memorial Information - This section outlines your preferences for memorial arrangements.  It includes the information needed to fill out a death certificate as well as claim military benefits.  This section will take a lot of stress off the family member designated to make final arrangements.  It is also a great way to start a discussion within your family so everyone is aware of your wishes.

Legal Paperwork - This section contains a list of legal paperwork you may have and lets you indicate where it is stored.  Most documents can go directly into the binder, but some may be stored elsewhere.  There is also a contact list for legal designees such as powers of attorney. 

Miscellaneous - This section contains a business owner information sheet to help a spouse or family contact the correct people in the event of accident or death.  There is an online password summary to help keep track of all passwords.  There is a pet care sheet so that in case of emergency someone else could properly care for your pet.  There is also a maintenance sheet to identify the people you use for household, vehicle and appliance repairs.  There is also a list of shutoff locations for electrical and water around your home.

Also included in Prepared Binder - Home Edition is a CD containing printable pdf documents of all the included documents in the binder.  There are sheet protectors, pockets and a business card holder for storing information.

I hope this has helped you understand a little more about Prepared Binder - Home Edition.  If you have any questions I would love to hear them so please contact me.  Happy Organizing!

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