Mel has a great death prep series and I highly recommend you read all of those. I am going to fork off a little bit by talking about an emergency contact information template for family and friends.
Having an emergency contact information template is not a will. You should have a will. And declare a power of attorney. But this is different. This a contact list. Or a phone tree, if you will. Part of this is if you are hospitalized for a period of time. Someone may need to pay your bills, take care of your pets, get into your apartment, things like that. Then the other part is for when you pass away. How many bank accounts do you have? Investments? Landlord’s name? Can someone take care of your pets temporarily until they find a new home?
This is easy to do for anyone at home. The first page can be given to practically anyone (neighbor, babysitter). It doesn’t have any serious revealing information in it. Mainly phone numbers and addresses. The rest of the template has more details but nothing significantly private. You will list the name of your banks and description of the accounts, but not your actual account number. This is not a legal document.
Emergency Details for Family
The template includes worksheet tabs for:
You are not giving out account numbers but it is still a lot of information. This should be given to family or very close friends. I gave this out to a cousin who lives near by and a sister who lives a few hours away. These are my closest (emotionally) family members. The ones who will be tasked to taking care of these things at one point. If you are close with your parents, give this to one of them, then a copy to another relative.
Also think of this as a calling tree. Are you giving this to someone who could contact your friends/family if they need to?
Emergency Contacts for Friends
While it is important for my family to have this information since they will need it when I pass. I see my friends a lot more! For my friends, it’s more of health concerns. What if we’re together when I get injured? That type of thing. I sent just the first page, with mainly contact information, to my close friends in the city.
Make sure you know someone who can temporarily take care of your pets. That is one less thing your family will have to deal with when you pass or are hospitalized for a long period of time.
Make sure at least one person near-by has a copy of your keys. And that other people know who that person is. One of my close friends has the spare keys to my apartment. But my family members have never met her and would have no idea how to figure out who has my spare keys. That is why she is specifically mentioned in my contact sheet. You want different points of contact too. Make sure to use friends in different groups, so everyone important to you can be contacted .
Keep Things Updated
This may seem like a lot of work at first, but really it’s just filling in the blanks. You will want to keep this updated. I suggest to review this document during tax time. Since you will have important documents out at that time anyway. Update addresses if anyone has moved. Employment information if that has changed. Bank information, etc.
No one wants to think of tragic circumstances or the inevitable. But your friends & family will be grateful to have such an organized list if anything were to happen to you. Complete the emergency information spreadsheet, share it with the people you care about, and hope that no one will have to use it.