We’ve compiled a list of things it would be worth finding out before you might actually need them… planning ahead will save time and stress should you find yourself in an emergency situation with your parents or relatives, particularly if you’re a distance away:
Keys– who has front door keys? Is there a spare set somewhere? Should there be a keysafe outside? Is there a burglar alarm and do you know the code? Where are the other keys – for the garage, garden shed, the kitchen drawer or desk where all the useful information may be stored?
Neighbours and Friends – this might be stating the obvious, but do you have contact details for friends and neighbours who you can call on, particularly if you don’t live close by?
Contact Details– really useful to have a list of all relevant contacts, from the Doctor, the local vicar, priest or rabbi, any carers or regular visitors, as well as lawyers, accountants and other key people you may need to contact.
Medical History– allergies, previous surgery, chronic conditions, current medication, especially if your parent is on blood thinners like Warfrin (in case you need this information out of hours, when the doctor cannot be contacted).
Legal Stuff – you should check with your parents that they have written a will and that you know where the latest copy is. You should also discuss with them drawing up a Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive well in advance of potential need for either.
Passwords – potentially a legal minefield regarding agreements with providers and data protection… but at the very least it is worth knowing
the main login details and password to a computer, with details of online accounts, and what is stored where on the computer such as photographs.
The Folder – encourage your parents, relatives or friends to compile a folder of all information that you might one day need, or at least directions on where to find everything if you need to. If possible ask for a copy of all of the key information in the Folder. Top things to go into the Folder:
- Bank account details
- National Insurance number, passport number
- Where to find passports, driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate
- Vehicle ownership paperwork
- Personal and other insurance details, including private health insurance details and house insurance
- Important contact details – GP, carers, other agencies, neighbours and other relevant people
- Copy of the will – or where to find it, as well as any relevant lists of bequests
- Copy of any Power of Attorney and Advance Directive
- Keys, safe and security alarm details
- And finally, but probably No 1 on many lists: instructions for what to do with the pets!
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, it would be great to know what things were most important for you, and how you dealt with it. Join the conversation in the Age Space Forum.