If the worst were to happen, do your loved ones know where to find your important documents, your passwords, your bank account and investment information? Do they know that you’ve been saving for them in an account in Bermuda for 10 years!?
That’s why you need an emergency folder — a physical or digital file where you keep all your important documents organised, in one place. An emergency folder makes it easy to find these details when needed (how many times have you forgotten a password?) and also lightens the burden on your loved ones if you were to die or become seriously injured.
Important: an emergency folder is not a replacement for your Will! It’s an important addition, but you do need a Will, too. Here’s why.
1. An emergency folder is not just about tomorrow, it helps you today!
There’s something peaceful about knowing that all your documents are organised and saved in one place. Set a reminder to review your folder each year, then get on with your life!
You’ll find yourself referring to your folder over and over. When you’re doing your tax return, for example, you can look up that elusive tax number without having to sift through 300 emails. Or if you’re travelling, you can quickly check if you need additional travel insurance.
2. It saves you money
During an emergency, it can cost more in legal fees if you don’t have all your information at hand. There will be no delays due to unknown accounts and insurance policies, or policies that have lapsed. In short, there will be no surprises and everything should run smoothly for your family.
In your everyday life, being disorganised costs money. You end up buying things twice, like unnecessary insurance, or you pay penalty fees because you forgot to pay an account.
3. It helps your loved ones
A death in the family is a traumatic event, and not just because of the emotional loss. There’s the stress of the endless paperwork, the phone calls and the winding up of the estate, which can sometimes take as long as two years.
Having an up-to-date emergency folder won’t take the paperwork away, but it will lighten the admin burden on your loved ones and give them the space to grieve without additional stress.
In short, we’d encourage everyone to create an emergency folder. It might take a few hours to compile, but it will save days of work in the future. We’ve created this handy guideline document to help get you started.