I’m a list maker.  Always have been.  Probably always will be.  It must be a genetic trait inherited from my mother because she always, always, always, had a steno pad in her hand with a running list of grocery items, errands, to do’s, and reminders.

I’m the same way.

So it’s appropriate to have a Chapter3Blog category simply called, “The List“.

The posts featured in The List will be different from month to month.  Because it will be bullets of what you will want to know, need to know or find interesting.   Which means it’s going to evolve over time.

The List might contain a collection of favorite books, websites, quotes, recipes, shortcuts, resources, or reminders.  It might be 3 items or 30 items.

It’s anything we choose.  We  . . . meaning YOU and ME.  So what would you like to see a list of?  Send me your ideas and I’ll get the ball rolling.


The List:  January – Your I.C.E. File

This is the perfect time of year to get organized.

Your closets, your desk, your cupboards, your life.

But before you organize any of those, do this:  organize your I.C.E. file.  An acronym for In Case Of Emergency.  It’s every document and piece of information you or someone close to you will need when life throws a curve ball your way.



If you’ve already done this, great.  If you haven’t, get started.

I’ve had personal experience in dealing with a crisis.  Some of my friends have too.  Believe us when we say you’re anything but focused when faced with an emergency trip to the hospital or a life-threatening situation.

Give yourself some peace of mind, gather this information and file it in a safe place.

Here’s The ICE List, compiled by me and confirmed by a probate judge.

  • social security cards
  • marriage certificates
  • birth certificates or record of birth
  • banks and account numbers; contact person if applicable
  • brokerage firms and account numbers;  name of your account representative
  • credit card accounts
  • passwords for all of the above
  • password for your personal computer and mobile devices
  • listed items of value, i.e. jewelry, artwork, automobiles, collectibles
  • medications and health history which contain the names of your personal physician and any specialists
  • the names & phone numbers of your attorney, financial advisor, insurance professional
  • insurance policies
  • power of attorney
  • living will, document appointing your health care advocate, or advanced medical directive (this varies by state—know which is applicable to you)
  • last will and testament
  • a detailed financial statement listing assets and liabilities

Finally, let someone know where to find your ICE file.  Your spouse, your kids, or a close friend.  Keep it current by revisiting the information in your file once a year.

Life changes on a dime.  Without warning or notice.  While we can’t always avoid the inevitable, we can be prepared for when it happens.

It’s a smart start to a new year.