For a while now, I’ve been meaning to change the format of EmergencyBinder.com (not the documents themselves, but the website itself).
When I first started the site, I had some ideas about how often I’d update it, how I’d get feedback, and whatnot. And a blog made sense as the content management system for it. But after that initial burst, I realized that the blog format was needlessly complicated. So in the next day or three, I’ll be replacing the blog with a single page website, featuring a big “download” button. Rather than people having to navigate the “Complete Document List” for documents, it makes more sense for there to just be a .zip file that people can download and use. Simple is good.
Since the blog (and this post) has a short half-life at this point, the main purpose of this post is to notify those of you on the RSS feed that the site’s going to change a little bit, and that you won’t be getting updates from us after this. I hope you’ll come by the new site in a day or two, though, and give us feedback. And if you have a blog, we’d of course love for you to mention us on it!
Also, we’re about to release the Financial Info Document. You’ll be able to download that from the site once we relaunch.
I’ll always be available via twitter.com/charliepark, so if you have any feedback, please send it my way.
So there’s that scene in the 1980′s movie Navy SEALs where all the guys from the team return to civilization from some mission, and they maraud around a golf course, riding around on golf carts and blasting Bon Jovi singing “The Boys are Back in Town.” Well … get your golf cart and schlocky 80′s rock ready, ’cause we’re back.
Erik Dewey, the guy I mentioned in the last post, has taken down The Big Book of Everything from his website. His reasoning? Mark Gavagan, the owner of The It’s All Right Here Life & Affairs Organizer made noises about copyright infringement, and about how it would cut into his ability to run his business. I haven’t ever seen TIARHL&AO, but it looks like it’s a solid product. It looks comprehensive, and clear, and probably worth the $49.99 (including shipping) that it costs. So if you’re looking for a complete set of life affairs / emergency documents, by all means, go check it out. BUT.
It still doesn’t deal with the fact that my initial motivation in making Emergency Binder! was to have a free, tweakable, printable collection of emergency documents available online. So. Emergency Binder! is coming out of retirement. It’s still going to have to take a backseat to PearBudget and Monotask (our soon-to-launch attention management tool (you can sign up for the beta announcement list at Monotask.com)). But I’m going to make a commitment, right here, right now, to increase my efforts to complete Emergency Binder!, relatively soon(ish).
On top of that, I’m going to formalize an earlier attempt (stick with me) to organize a cohort to go through it together. If you want in on the inaugural cohort, request an invite at our new Google Group: Emergency Binder – TeamAlpha. I’m limiting it to 10 at first, so if you want in on that initial group, get on it. We’re going to start from the very beginning of Emergency Binder!, with the Identity Information doc, and we’ll work our way through. I’ll be adding in more docs as we go (next up is financial info), and I’ll hopefully stay ahead of the pack. You can see the docs we have available at the Complete Document List.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to work on the next doc, and to find my old Bon Jovi tapes and a golf cart. More soon, friends!
It looks like a guy named Erik Dewey has created something pretty similar to what we’ve got here, but … well … it’s complete. That’s awesome. You can check it out here: The Big Book of Everything.
In truth, I was a little worried about our own efforts to make this happen, as I’ve been really busy this summer with PearBudget and with the still-under-wraps project that’s getting a lot of my time (Monotask). Furthermore, our goal all along wasn’t to make this happen ourselves, necessarily. We just knew that someone should make a printable “emergency info” document like this and make it available for free. Kudos to Erik for actually getting it made and releasing it.
I’m not saying we won’t keep developing Emergency Binder!, but odds are, we’ll all be better off if you jump over to The Big Book of Everything and give it a shot. Keep me posted, though, if there’s something you want to see that TBBoE doesn’t cover. We might be able to whip something up.
Ultimately, we’re hoping to include basic estate planning documents in the Emergency Binder! downloads. This’ll be a ways off, though.
In the meantime, there’s a good post on Get Rich Slowly, with an overview of what you need to include in an estate plan.
Here are the things he talks about:
That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? I know it’s kind of overwhelming to me, which is, in part, why I want to make sure Emergency Binder! eventually covers it and breaks it down into small, manageable chunks. But here’s the thing: This work will have to be done by someone, and there’s noone better-equipped than you to take care of it. All that stuff in your head? Your family doesn’t know it’s there.
Take a look at the original post: Estate Planning 101: Preparing for the Possible — and the Inevitable
Alright! The second document in the binder is now available: A Basic Emergency Plan.
As we say in the document, “the middle of an emergency is a terrible time to make a plan.” This document gives you a condensed set of documents, including information about your home, locations for you to retreat to in the event of an emergency, and documentation on how to shut down the various systems of your house (water, electricity, propane, etc.) if you need to. A full table of contents follows at the end of this post.
This is a much easier document to fill out than the first one. It also involves some “get up and walk around the house” activities, where you become more familiar with your electric panel and water and gas supply lines.
As with all Emergency Binder! documents, this one is in flux — if you have a suggestion for something we should add, please send us a tweet, @emergencybinder.
We just posted the downloadable version of the Identity Information file. You can get it by clicking on this link: Identity Information. You can also right-click on that link and then select “save link as” to save it to your desktop.
Because the file is now downloadable, you can fill out the form and save an electronic copy on your computer, or at some secure offsite location. Please be careful, as the form does give you places to enter sensitive information (your Social Security Number, for example). If you enter that information in (either electronically or on the hard copy), make sure you’re saving it in a secure place.
For those of you in the first cohort going through this, our due date is this Sunday … have one of these filled out for each family member by Sunday night. That should be enough time, and also should give me enough time to make the next document. (If you have any requests for the next document, let me know. Right now, I’m thinking about the Emergency Plan.)
In case you didn’t discover the blog via Twitter, we just wanted to let you know that we’ve set up our account, at twitter.com/EmergencyBinder. I tried setting it up as @EmergencyBinder!, but they didn’t like the exclamation point. Oh well.
Do us a favor if you follow us … send out a message and mention us, so we know you’re following us (and so your followers will know, too), and we’ll follow you back. Thanks!
So, after trying to get a Google Docs file working, I think it’s not going to serve our purposes.
I had wanted to create something that was easily shareable, easily tweakable, easily save-able, and easily printable. Since so much of my world these days deals with online apps, I was thinking that a set of Google Docs was the way to go. After wrasslin’ with it for the better part of a day, I think developing .doc files locally, then uploading them to our server and allowing you to download them is going to be a better approach.
As before, I’ll keep you updated.
The first document you’ll want to fill out is the Identity Information file. You’ll want to print out one copy of this document for each member of your family.
You can see the full list of included sections below:
Not all of the sections are relevant for everyone. Just fill out the sections relevant for each member of your family.
The point is to just get it printed out, and to then fill in as much information as you can, as quickly as possible. Don’t get hung up on missing paperwork. For example, if you don’t have a will to include in the “will” section, skip it for now. Do what you can and worry about the rest of it later.
If there are any sections you think should be added to this file, just add a comment and let us know, or send a message via Twitter to @emergencybinder.
Doc development is going well. Currently working on the Identity Information page. Has a bit more before it’s done.
I’ll let you know once it’s good to go.
If something were to happen to you, what would your family do? Would they have your banking information at hand? What about your bills? Your insurance info? It’s a lot to keep track of.
Emergency Binder! is a FREE resource. It’s a set of documents you can fill out, print out, and stick into an emergency binder of your own.
Emergency Binder! is only a few days old. We’re working on developing a comprehensive (but not overwhelming) set of documents. You can see what we have already by visiting the Complete Document List.