It’s never too early to put an emergency preparedness plan for your home together. With an ICE (In Case of Emergency) Book you can plan ahead for your family and prepare the information they’d need in case something happened to you or your spouse! It may sound morbid or even overwhelming but I promise you’ll be so glad once it’s done. I sure was!
When my dad passed away I created a will, living will and power of attorney. No, I don’t have a secret fortune lying around, it’s just the responsible thing to do. It’s so much easier for your family if you have these documents in place.
(If you don’t already have a will, living will or power of attorney contact a lawyer or you can get them at U.S. Legal Forms).
Making sure that Trent knew my wishes upon my death (i.e. I don’t want an open casket, I want a memorial service, etc.) was important to me. It could be another 60 years before I go but it was important to me to have that plan in place for him.
I also created an ICE Book (I had seen had seen the idea over at AndreaDekker.com – If you haven’t checked out her site, she has fabulous organizational ideas!) to hold all of our important paperwork and documents. I take care of our household paperwork and budget (because I enjoy it more than Trent does) so having this book for him is priceless just in case something happened to me. (As you can tell from the scratches on the front, we’ve been using this book for quite a few years.)
This book is also a great emergency preparedness plan to have in place should something ever happen to both of us. (We’ve both chosen a person and given the info of how/where to find our emergency book.)
Let me introduce you to the *Duo 2-in-1 Binder!
This uber cool binder has both a 3-ring binder and a 7 pocket accordion with tons of space to keep all of our info!
NOTE: Sadly, the Duo binder that I use is no longer available. This C-Line Vertical File is the closest option that has large expanding files like the Duo binder that I have been able to find. (If the Duo binder becomes available again I will update this post.)
Andrea is so very generous to share her free, downloadable printables to help us get started. All we have to do is enter the information into the sheets! You can download them in Word format here.
What type of info is in an in case of emergency book?
Personal – Marriage license, birth certificates, social security cards, passports, copies of drivers licenses, health and life insurance info, and medical contacts/info
Financial – Checking, savings and investment account numbers and log-ins
Insurance – Policy numbers, company names and contact info
Home/Auto – Titles, vehicle and household bill info
Retirement – Policy numbers, company names and contact info
Business Info – Log-ins, passwords, etc. (I tried to include as much detail as possible since Trent doesn’t know a lot of the behind-the-scenes info about my business.)
The information I needed for my binder was in quite a few different places so I had a “fun time” pulling it together. But, once I had all of the information in one place it didn’t take any time at all to organize our binder.
As you can see, the accordion portion has all of the hard copies (policies, licenses, wills, etc.). The numbers and such are on the 3-ring binder side.
Do you have an emergency preparedness plan for your home in place?
If not, go grab your binder here and get yours started today!
And if you do, I’d love to know what system you use to keep all of your important documents together!
Additional Emergency Preparedness Items
Fireproof Storage Bag
Fireproof Lock Box
Solar Powered Charging Bank
Solar Powered Lantern
Portable Water Filter
Portable Butane Stove
Great info! Where do you keep it? I would be sure to keep something like that in a fire box or a safe that is fire, smoke, water resistant. You’ve inspired me to make one too thanks.
Hi Coco! I’m glad you’ve found my ICE book helpful! I’d love to know how you do with your book (stop back by and let me know when you’ve finished yours).
Yes, this is definitely something that you’d want to keep in a super safe place. We keep ours in a fireproof safe!
Thanks for stopping by!
Awesome idea! I never would’ve thought of doing this
Hi Emily! I’m glad you find this helpful!
It’s so comforting knowing that my family will have all the info they need if something were to happen to me!
Thanks for stopping by!
My hubby and I are in our 50’s now, so this has been on my mental To-Do list for months…I’ve begun a Master Password List…which I keep on a thumb drive because I’m too nervous to keep it on the computer’s hard drive, in case – God forbid – any stupid hacker actually makes it past our firewall and Kaspersky computer security. So, yes, this process has begun and I’ve purchased WillMaker software to do that as well. Makes it easier for our kids in the future if we have our affairs in order.
Sounds like you’ve already started the process with your master password list. I agree, it’s difficult to know how to store these confidential items.
You’ll be glad you made your will and took care of everything for your family! We definitely are!
Thanks for stopping by!
That is so smart and responsible! I really need to make one of these, my poor husband would be so lost if something ever happened to me. Putting this on my list!
I’m glad you found this helpful Jordyn. Thanks for stopping by!
I need to make one of these too. I also need to make a medical one for both of my kids since I store a lot of that info in my brain and if I’m not here my husband may need it. Maybe this will be the year for me to get it done. :)
Yes, that would definitely be helpful for you husband if, God forbid, something ever happened to you.
I love your ICE book! I do have a folder of emergency and official paperwork like marriage license, copies of drivers licenses, etc., but I haven’t done the will. (I so need to get that done!) My folder could use some updating – thanks for the reminder. It’s going on my to-do list.
I’m glad I could remind you to get your will done, Sarah! (I promise that once it’s done you’ll be glad you did it!)
Great information. I offer this service to my clients. I highly recommend placing a copy in a safe or safe deposit box as well as one in your 72 hour emergency kit. Thanks for sharing.
Brilliant! A perfect compilation of all the required bits and pieces, and all in one place. I’m going to share this post and get busy making my own ICE manual. Thanks so much.
Love your blog Tshanina.
Thank you, Cheryl!
I have recently started making an emergency book for our family. I have used several of your tips – thank you! In addition to what you have included, I have also tried to make this book a resource for us in case of an emergency, or technology failure. I have included the contact information for our friends and family, address and phone number for hospitals throughout our state, other emergency phone numbers (such as poison control and state hotlines), and information for hotels in several surrounding cities. I also plan on eventually adding towing companies, car rental companies, and possibly airlines, just in case there is ever an emergency that would require us to leave town.
What a wonderful idea, Angel! Thank you for sharing!
I love this! Where can I get a cool binder like yours??
Michelle, there’s an Amazon link to the binder in the post!
Thanks for stopping by!
At one time I had a binder for all of the important papers but after handling the estate of my sister, mother and father-in-law I decided to simplify things even further for our executors.
We have almost all the information they will need on a 4 column table that fills 2 sheets of paper. The table lists all of our important ID information, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, utility companies, etc. One column has the account number, another lists the owner of the account (and any named beneficiaries) one column lists the contact phone number and one column says how and when the bills are paid.
Additionally we have 7 years of income tax information on a 3 page table. The table has a column for each year and a row for each reportable line from our income tax returns.
These 5 sheets of paper allowed us to remove so many other pieces of paper from our ICE file that now everything fits in a slim folder. One thing that we have recently added is a jump drive that has digital files of all of our best family photos. If anyone ever wants to put together a slide show, for an anniversary or memorial service, they won’t need to dig though photo albums, photo boxes or SD cards.
Thanks for sharing Donna! The jump drive is a fabulous idea!
Wow. Donna that’s immpressive. I would love to see an example. I don’t have any of this and now feel a little panicked.
Great idea but aren’t you remotely worried about theft? If someone got hold of that one binder, they would have so much info about you. That’s access to bank accounts as well as identity theft..
That’s a great point, Alison, and that’s why I highly encourage storing your binder in a very secure safe or even a lock box.
Thanks for stopping by!
I do this but I keep it in a digital notebook. I use Quip and it’s accessible with my smart phone, tablet, laptop and stays synced. I keep everything household in Quip (free app). You can create categories. You add photos, spreadsheets, lists, etc.
Thanks for sharing, Sharon!
I found your ICE manual extremely helpful and well thought out. It is comforting to know that all of our financial documents and advance directive request will be neatly organized and stored away in a safe place in case of an unexpected emergency. Thank you!
You’re welcome! I’m so glad you find it useful, Gloria Kaye.
I have a red Buttoned Up binder that I use to organize my information. My daughter talked me into purchasing one about 9 years ago. She threw hers out when she became bored with it. I filled mine with everything.
In August 2016, our home flooded. I plucked my binder up and threw it into 1 of the 3 garbage bags we could take out when we climbed into the rescue boat. Let me tell you! That was my life saver. I had my insurance policies, cash sale on our home, titles to cars, contracts, wills, etc.
It was my most valuable possession when I left my home that day and because of that experience, it still is. I highly recommend this moves off of anyone’s mental list and onto their done list. It was the ONE thing I own that feels like proof that I once had a normal life.
If you haven’t done this yet, don’t let another day go by without giving it serious consideration. You can schedule time for this. You can’t schedule emergencies.
Renee, I’m so sorry to hear that your home flooded.
Thank you for sharing this testimony with the rest of us to remind us how very important this info is to have together!
Thanks for sharing this, I have one thing to add that is important for everyone to have. You should include a HIPAA release form. In an emergency this allows the hospital to talk to your loved ones about your health. Without it, the hospital will not give them all the information they may need to help you. You can find a form for free online & everyone should have a form for their parents as well. A friend”s father was recently in a car accident & the hospital would not give him much information. They talked to his father but he was confused & it was very frustrating.
Thanks for sharing, Kathryn!
For all you procrastinators, let me take you on a momentary Journey. You’re dead, here is your death certificate. You cannot say another word about anything, Not what needs to happen with your children, your pets, finances, bills, funeral, cherished family items, pictures. You can’t tell anyone where a policy is, pin numbers, what medications your kids take, social security numbers -NOTHING! YOUR DEAD. Now imagine what happens 30 minutes later, a week, a month without this vital information, no will, no power of attorney, no list of bills and contacts, no ome om your accounts, no beneficiaries. GRIDLOCK. Please start now, begin today. Protect all you love and care about. Put your plan together, have those coversations. It’s the best gift you’ll ever give a loved one.
You’re so right, JE…this truly is a gift!
JE, you mentioned a power-of-attorney in your list of important papers. A power-of-attorney is good if you are alive but incapable of communication. It also expires upon your death.
Finally getting around to this. My kids are 6 and 8 and I’ve been saying for YEARS that I need to do this. So happy to have stumbled upon this post of yours. Thank you for sharing!!
Good for you, Rachel!!!
I love your binder and I have a similar one for my family. You have some great tips! A word of caution though: please be wary of purchasing legal forms online. Particularly with a power of attorney – many states have very specific laws that change on a regular basis (my state of PA being one of them). The forms found on these websites are often not correct for the individual state rules and therefore, end up invalid. It is honestly best to seek legal counsel for a POA and well worth the investment to know it is completed correctly.
Thanks so much for sharing, Lauren!
Thanks for all the great links and suggestions! I’ve ordered the binder and can’t wait to get started this weekend. It was such a relief once we had completed our legal forms, now to pull all of the other information together.
You’re welcome, Kandi! You’ll be so happy when you have everything well organized in your binder!
This is a fabulous idea and something i’ve been wanting to work on for a long time. Having a template to start with helps a lot.
Someone mentioned a HIPAA form which made me think to share this. We now have children over 18 but not married. We had our attorney draft up forms for each of them for Power of Attorney and Medical Directives, which included a statement superseding all HIPAA requirements. We did this because once they are 18, if they, God forbid, are in any kind of an accident which leaves them incapacitated, we would not only not be allowed to hear about their condition, we would not be allowed to make any decisions on their behalf. What’s worse, according to our attorney, the legal responsibility for decision making would fall to the state. You, as a parent, have no legal rights nor voice once they are 18 without this paperwork. Once they marry, we will relinquish these forms, but until then, we wanted to make sure they will have those who care for them most making decisions for them. We kept a copy of the documents in our email so that we have access to it at anytime but we also had each of them give a copy to their medical facility at their respective college.
Great information! Thank you for sharing, Jamie!
Thank you for this information, my husband and I just started our estate planning and had our will done. We were advised to buy a home safe, did you do much research on them and how did you decide which kind is the best. We want a fireproof one and had thought about also being able to store some of our most treasured pictures, but it seems some of the safes produce some moisture which would not be good for storing pictures:( Any advise would be appreciated.
Good for starting your estate planning. You’ll be so glad when that project is complete!
I wish I could give you some tips on safes but unfortunately I know nothing about them. My husband had our safe prior to our marriage so that’s the one we use.
Hi there, so I just happened to stumble across your page and was really excited to see your ICE binder. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for my family and just didn’t know where to start. WOW!!!! I am speechless at how perfect you’ve laid it all out. I even ordered the same binder from Amazon as well! Again, Thank you, thank you, thank you for such an awesome display of how to put it all together.
Yay, I’m so glad you found it SB!
It’s so freeing getting this pulled together and knowing everything is in one place.
My husband and I created a similar book many years ago. It contains our wills and a step by step guide about what to do in the event that we die. We’ve included a fact sheet with what to do if the electricity goes off, and other home emergencies for our daughter to help her deal with situations when my husband and I travel. It’s also a good idea to have this information such as copies of our passports and insurance information in case our passports are stolen when we travel. Our wills need to be updated now that our kids are both adults but the other information is still relevant.
Feels good to have all of that done, doesn’t it?!
Wow! I can’t thank you enough for sharing this terrific organizational book. The perfect reminder that this has to be done. It is not enough to have the information in file folders in the filing cabinet. I will definitely get the process started. We have wills made and filed with lawyer and a friend. So, I am thinking of personal and medical information next. Then, I read comments about password info and the likes. Oh, my head is spinning now. I have to shut down my brain until after I get some sleep.
I’m so glad that you’ve found it helpful!
Try not to get overwhelmed but just start compiling your information little by little. You’ll be so glad when it’s done.
I was married four and half years when my husband suddenly died. He did all the bookkeeping and most of it was on the computer. I didn’t know the passwords or much about the farm and bills we had. I was busy with the household and two small children. I now know the importance of having a book such as this. Do it for your loved ones.This info will be priceless to those you leave behind. I also recommend a pre-paid funeral.
Thank you for sharing, Vinnie.
I’m so sorry for your loss!
Another good thing to include in your ICE book is a copy of ALL your credit and debit cards, front and back, AND your driver’s license. That way you have the important phone numbers to call if one gets lost or stolen. Just remember to make a new photo copy when you get a new card AND eliminate the old one.
I also saved the small cards from all the doctors we have and companies we use for household repairs. It has their phone numbers on them so contacting them are much easier than trying to remember which contractor we used.
Great suggestions! Thanks for sharing, Pam.
These are great ideas and I love your binder! One other thing my hub and I did is take a picture and print it out of each important household item we want to go to a specific child, etc. We signed and dated each picture (both signatures) so there’s no question of who we want to go to who…….
GO DO ALL THIS NOW EVERYONE – I’ve been involved with 3 deaths and want to make it easiest for our kids!!!
Cta, taking pictures for your family is a genius idea. Thanks for sharing!
My husband put ours together in 2004 before a serious surgery. He updates monthly with current bills/receipts.
I’m so glad you and your hubby have this in place, Becky!
This is a great idea. I can’t get the link to work for the word document though.
If you click the link while on your computer an automatic download should pop up.
Thanks for sharing . We live on the Coastal area of Louisiana. I’ve been in too many storms my child and adult life. Hurricane Ida recently destroyed so many homes and peoples lives.
This is a definite plan on my list .
I’m so glad you found this helpful, Cheryl! I have no doubt you’ll be glad when you put your book together.
If one puts passwords on a thumb drive and must leave the computer behind for some reason, won’t the passwords still be in the computer hard drive? I ask because I don’t understand how some of this computer stuff works – too old for technology!
As long as the file containing the passwords is only on the thumb drive it will not be on the computer’s hard drive too. (Keep in mind that I’m not a computer expert so that’s just my opinion.)
I can’t find the binder you use. Amazon is currently out of it.
I’m sorry to hear that, Autumn. Hopefully they will restock soon!
Hi. I have been looking for this binder, but can’t find one anywhere. Do you have any suggestions of where to purchase one? I love this and would lime to implement it. Thank you.
Unfortunately I don’t! It seems as though everyone has been sold out of this one for a while now. Hopefully they’ll restock soon!