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10 Free Tools for Household and Personal Matters

1.  Important Personal Information
If you are unable to manage some or all of your life for some period of time those trying to help you will require personal information like where you keep your bills; the location of your checkbook(s); who should be contacted at your place of work, place of worship, organizations you belong to; the name and contact information for your accountant in case IRS filings are due; the name and contact information of your lawyer; the location of important papers; etc. This information will also be needed by your family when you die to wind up your affairs.

2.  Emergency Notification ListUse this form to list the names and contact information for the people and organizations you want notified in the event you are seriously ill, injured, etc.

3.  Emergency InstructionsIn the event of an emergency or crisis, whatever the origin, instructions need to be in place so those you designate can immediately take action to care for your children, pets, home, medical matters, etc. until the crisis or emergency passes.

4.  Home Care InstructionsUse this form if you need assistance for some period of time from friends, family members or outside home care providers to keep your home and laundry clean and organized, to run errands and other misc. items.

5.  Household Information and InstructionsWhen others are helping you care for your home for some period of time, they may need to know details about things like trash pickup (who does it, where is the pickup and when), who is your plumber, electrician, snow removal company, house cleaners, lawn mowers/landscapers, etc.

6.  Permission to Share Information Regarding Miscellaneous Personal/Household Matters with OthersUnless their name in on your account, no one else can assist you in dealing with the gas, power, telephone, cable company, etc. without your written permission. They can’t order service, repairs, report problems or discuss billings and other financial matters. This list of all utility and other providers in your home, the account numbers and contact information is also essential information your family will need after your death to cancel these accounts.

7.  Permission to Enter Residence Including Security System InformationIf you want for one or more people to be able to enter your home to undertake various responsibilities on your behalf, it’s a good idea for them to have your written permission for a variety of reasons. In addition to specifying your instructions, you also indicate where to find a key to enter your home (especially important in an emergency), information about your security system (if applicable) including the location of keypads, passwords, how to set and cancel the system, how to contact the security company and other relevant information.

8.  Temporary Permission for Others to Stay in Your ResidenceWhether it’s for your own peace of mind, to care for your pet(s), or if you have a high maintenance home, you may want to have someone stay in your home while you are away during a lengthy stay in the hospital or other healthcare facility – or even just on a lengthy vacation. Whatever the reason, it’s advisable for the person staying in your home to have a written list of the things they need to do while in your home as well as the privileges you are granting them while they are in your home like guests (overnight and others), use of things like hot tubs, swimming pools, vehicles, etc.

9.  Permission for Others to Accept/Access Mail, Packages, Etc.Did you know that not even your spouse is allowed to sign for registered, certified or other parcels or mail; renew a post office or other box, etc. without your written permission? If you are unable to undertake these things for yourself for some period of time, it would be a good idea if several people have your permission to deal with your mail, including the location of any post office or other box and the location of your key. 

10.  Computer, E-Mail, Cell Phone, Accounts and Other PasswordsWhether as a reminder to yourself or to enable others to assist in an emergency, it's important to keep a list of the passwords and other long-on information to all of your on-line social media, email, shopping and other on-line accounts as well as passwords for all of your password protected technical devices. This information will also be invaluable for your family after your death to help in settling your affairs and close accounts to protect your estate from identity theft.


Although none of the above tools are legal documents, it’s possible that someone may ask you to include a notary with one of the completed forms for their records. Just print out the notary form, attach it to the completed but unsigned forms and take to a notary for you both to sign.  View

  • Today's privacy laws prohibit anyone, even your spouse, from getting access to personal information that may be needed to help in an emergency unless they have your written permission.
  • In a medical emergency, information regarding current prescriptions, any known health conditions, the names of your doctors, known allergies, etc. must be immediately available to medical personnel.
  • Medical personnel won't search your technical devices for medical information nor will medical facilities allow the use of a flash drive or similar device with their computers due to concerns over possible viruses infecting their system.
  • Once your children become 18, you no longer have access to any of their medical, financial, college, insurance or other information without their written permission even if you still provide their insurance and pay some or all of their bills.
  • People who live alone are particularly vulnerable when the unexpected happens unless they have put into writing the information, instructions, and authorizations that allow others to help manage their medical care, finances, household matters, pets, children and all other important components of their life until the emergency passes.

It's easy to create an Emergency Backup Plan for you and your family. Take the following steps to enable you and your family to be better prepared to assist one another when the unexpected happens:

Review the tools and select those that are most appropriate for your life and circumstances. BE SURE TO COMPLETE AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL INFORMATION FORM FOR EACH ADULT AND CHILD IN YOUR FAMILY.

Complete the forms you have chosen. If you completed the forms on your computer, save them on your computer, print out a copy so it can be immediately accessible if needed, and give or email a copy of those forms you want to share with others. If you completed the forms by hand, you may want to scan them so you can save a copy to your computer, iPad, phone or other electronic devices. You may also want to scan any signed, completed forms into one or more of your electronic devices so you'll have a backup copy to the original if needed as well as to make it easier to share with others, including any third parties who require signed authorizations to share information, etc.

Give a copy of the completed forms to those you have chosen to undertake specific responsibilities on your behalf in case of an accident or emergency so they are prepared to immediately follow your directives. For example, give a copy of Pet Care Information and Instructions, Permission for Others to Seek Medical Treatment for your Pets and all other relevant forms to whomever you want to care for your pet(s) in an emergency. When it comes to sensitive financial and similar information, you may prefer to keep that information private unless something happens that requires others to have access to this information. Place this private information in a safe place with your other important papers and tell one or more trusted individuals where this information can be found with instructions to access it only in an emergency or whatever other stipulations you set. If you place the originals of these sensitive forms in a safety deposit box, be sure and keep copies somewhere that can be immediately accessible in an emergency and tell one or more trusted individuals where they can be found.

Complete an Emergency Contact Card and carry it with you in your wallet or billfold so emergency personnel know whom to contact in an emergency. Make certain at least one person named on the card knows where they can find your Emergency Back Up Planner and completed forms so the information, instructions, and authorizations needed to care for you and your life is immediately available until the crisis has passed.

Click Here To Download & Create a Free Emergency Notification Card for Your Wallet 
(Courtesy of Virginia Tech)


  • When selecting individuals to undertake various responsibilities, don't over-burden any one person and make your selections based upon the capabilities of those being selected. For example, the person most appropriate to care for your children, pets, and household responsibilities may not be the best person to oversee your finances, or medical matters. Remember, it's not a popularity contest, make choices based upon the capabilities of the individuals, and their concurrence with the decisions you expect them to make on your behalf.
  • Complete and print out emergency medical information for each family member so it's immediately available in a medical emergency. Most hospitals and medical facilities won't allow you to provide your medical history/information contained in a flash drive, CD, or other USB devices because of their concern viruses could contaminate their network.
  • You may want to give copies of some of your completed forms to those you have chosen to assist you and your family in an emergency. Pick and choose which matters you want to keep private, except in a crisis, and share information and instructions for more practical matters so everyone will know what's expected of them when the unplanned takes place.