I just updated a document with the same name as the title of this piece, “In Case of Fire, Pull Lever.” It’s stored in the cloud and contains a bunch of important information for my family, in the event I step in front of the proverbial bus. You should think about creating a similar document. Ours is pretty simple because our lives are.

My version looks like this…
  1. A listing of our various banks and bank accounts. We utilize multiple banks and accounts for budgeting purposes. I have included some contact information.
  2. Where necessary, I have included instructions about the accounts. For example, many of the accounts are funded from my salary, so those periodic transfers will need to be stopped.
  3. It has a Life Insurance section, where the various companies are listed that are involved with family (life insurance) and business-related (disability, buy-sell) policies.
  4. As a partner in our financial advisory, I have a brief section that talks about our business interest.
  5. This section is concluded with where our investments are held. It includes 529 plans and my 401(k).

Next, I have a section where I lay out what I think my wife should tackle first. I have worked with enough clients who were cursed with parental admonitions (e.g. “don’t ever sell the _____________”), that I don’t say what she should do, but rather, in a sense, sit beside her and go through things with her. She’s every bit as capable as I am; we just both have our own domains, things we each took care of. Mine included this stuff.

Finally, in what I hope will be the most important section of the document to her—and I get tears in my eyes thinking about and reading this section—I tell her how important she was to me. I say the things I would say to her if I had one more chance to—and I resolve to say them to her now.

Today, take a few minutes to begin this document. Then, create a recurring reminder for yourself to review it. Finally, be sure to let your family know where they can find it.