If you needed to, could you Grab and Go? A Grab and Go Binder can save your family a lot of headaches in an emergency.
If you’ve lived in California or have been watching the news at all you know that we have had our fair share of wild rides this year…as have other parts of the country. Recently friends and family members have had to evacuate their homes due to a threat of fire…and it really made me understand how important this information is.
So, whether you have had to scramble and evacuate your home or not, one of the best ways to NOT panic is to have a Grab-and-Go Binder. Even if you don’t ever have to use it in an emergency, a Grab-and-G binder is one way to keep all your “better put my hands on this right away” papers and documents all in one place. And everyone in your family needs to know where it is and what’s in it. Here’s some tips from a blog I follow by Cameron Normand of
Why do you need a Grab and Go Binder?
Obviously, It’s Useful In Case of Emergencies
If you need to evacuate in a hurry, you’ll be able to grab the binder and go. You’ll have all the important documents and phone numbers you need. Doctors, insurers, credit card numbers. Schools, family, vets – all in one place so that as you need to notify folks and try to rebuild, you won’t have to also search out all of that info.
But It’s Also Useful Just for Keeping Organized…
Every once in awhile, you may be asked for a copy of my passport or my marriage license. Isn’t it easier to know that’s all in one place rather than having to dig through a safe, a file, or even a stack of papers to find it? Once you finish your Grab and Go, you’ll have everything you need in one place. Keep it in an easy to find location in your home so that anytime you’re asked for something you can find it.
WHAT NEEDS TO GO IN THE GRAB AND GO BINDER
In short – a lot of information. This is a task that will take you some time to put together. Especially if all this stuff is spread out around your house (no judgment here!). This is a great opportunity to get all of these documents in one place. And to order any birth records or anything else that you may not have on hand. Much better to do it now than have to do it after you’ve had an emergency.
Before you start, I do want to point out one thing. With the exception of your passports, the documents that go in your Grab And Go Binder should all be copies of the original documents.
Don’t forget copies of these Important Papers:
- Vehicle titles, property deeds
- Identification: Passports, drivers licenses, birth or adoption certificates, marriage/divorce certificates
- Health Info: Immunization, health records, including prescriptions for medications and glasses
- Powers of Attorney – to include a medical power of attorney, living will, etc.
- Trust papers, wills, deeds to burial plots
- Insurance policies (homeowners, life, auto, property, boat or RV, etc.)
- Important contracts
- School transcripts and diplomas
- Military service records Stocks and bonds, bank account numbers
- Income tax records from prior years (You don’t need the entire set of taxes, but the front pages with all the pertinent information is really important
Don’t rely on your cell phone in an emergency, you may not be able to access it.
- Make a list of your extended family members’ and friends’ phone numbers. Print out all those contacts and keep them with your important papers.
- Make an emergency contact list of important numbers such as doctors, school, work, neighbors and employers.
Pets and Livestock
- Immunization records and proof of spay/neuter for your pets
- Livestock registration papers and health certificates
- Photos of your pets and livestock for id
SCAN YOUR GRAB AND GO BINDER
- Before you get everything into the notebook, scan the documents so that you can keep a record of them in the cloud. That way if both the original copies of your documents and your binder were to perish, you’d still be able to access your information. If you don’t have access to a scanner your local office supply store can scan it for you and save it to a flash drive for you to upload later.
HOW TO PUT YOUR BINDER TOGETHER
· You’ll need the following supplies to assemble your book. Everything you need can be found at your local neighborhood Office Supply store or Amazon for around $50—believe me, money well worth it.
· A 3-ring binder—2 or 3” is what you need, some of those documents can get a little bulky. Choose a bright colored one so you can locate it quickly –making it easier to find when we need it.
· Sheet protectors
· A pencil pouch with three-ring holes (for your passports)
· Tabbed envelopes or plastic Slash pockets with three-ring holes (for bulky insurance policies, wills, etc)
· Tabbed Dividers
· A printed checklist to use as a table of contents so if someone needs to find something in a hurry they can
Identification and Contact Information
This will include copies of identification for each family member, as well as personal and employment contact information. Make copies of everyone in the family’s drivers licenses, birth or adoption certificates, passports, and military IDs.
And don’t forget about family pets. You should include identifying information about them, to include vet contacts and shot records. In addition to contact information, you’ll want to include emergency contact information in this section.
This will include medical records, contact information for any medical professionals, and any medical diagnosis or medication that is important to know about in an emergency. Marriage certificates, divorce decrees, adoption records, etc. could also go here.
Financial Records and Financial Liabilities
These two subjects can go in one tab, or you can divide them up in two – all depending on how complicated your finances are. This tab will include basic information about all the banking and/or investment accounts you hold, as well as bills you owe. In the event of an emergency, you’ll still be responsible for staying on track with your debts, so you’ll want to have all of that information handy.
Remember when we talked about how to do a home inventory? You’ll want to keep a printed copy of it here, along with hard copies of photographs where possible.
This is where you’ll put copies of any deeds or car titles. You’ll also want copies of your home or rental insurance. Property tax statements, previous years’ tax returns, and personal property tax information can also go here.
Here you’ll want to store any contracts to which you’re a party. Any living wills, estates, trusts – you get the gist. Are your children adopted? This should go here too. If you have them, business cards for your attorney, insurance agents, etc. would be good to go here too.
I hope you never have to use a Grab and Go Binder due to an emergency, but if you do, this will save you so much time and fear. . 2020 has been a game changer for most of us in one way or the other. But I am proud of my clients and customers—we have dealt with a lot and become more solid in our commitment to get and stay organized through it all. Need help with your Grab N Go Binder? We are here to help you.
Remember, it’s not about the stuff….