The ICE Book
My wife Elaine had chased me for the longest time to put EVERYTHING together in one place (estate plans, contact info, account numbers and account locations etc.) “in case of…” and so I did. We’ve all heard about the cobbler’s kids having no shoes and I did not want that to be me. Having been a financial and estate planner for most of my adult life it was a point of professional pride that I get this done, and done well. Not to mention that as a husband and father it seemed like a moral obligation to leave some kind of organized breadcrumbs so my family could find their way out of the financial woods “in case something happened to me.”
I created a binder/book which I’ve updated annually for a number of years. The strange thing is, Elaine cannot bring herself to read the book that I have put so much time and effort into. She does find great comfort however in having the book “in case of.” Along the way, through word of mouth, several clients have ask me to undertake a similar assignment for them.
This year I dove deeper into this project as a result of my professional network of advisors, attorneys, CPAs and bankers. Dagmar Pollex who is an estate planning attorney in our network writes a regular newsletter for advisor types like me, and in one of them this year discussed the concept of “digital assets” (like your online photos, Facebook account, etc.) and how to plan for their disposition or not. So with that as an initiative my deeper dive resulted in a complete rewrite of the book with the goal of having a book suitable to offer to clients.
Naming the book developed over a number of iterations: first it was just the generic “estate plan binder” but not every event requiring a book like this is the maturity of my estate plan. Next it became “the Ditch Book”( named after the ditch bag a sailor takes when he abandons ship and goes into the life raft), but the idea was too idiosyncratic and not everyone got it. Finally the ICE acronym (In Case of Emergency or ICE) made sense (after the practice of adding a phonebook entry in your cell phone called “ICE” – so first responders could contact who you wanted.)
Take this story as a product roll out – we are live with offering the ICE Book to clients as of now. There are numerous free forms and questionnaires and templates you can use all over the internet. I was informed by a couple of QVC fans that “Suzy Orman has a great CD and package you can buy on QVC and use.” Really? I’ll pay a $100 donation to the charity of you choice if you can show me right now – a fully completed Suzy Orman plan. Great idea, but highly likely to sit on your shelf unfulfilled. Remember the cobblers kids with no shoes? Ask your advisors if they have completed anything like an ICE book for their family? I’ll bet not.
The ICE book is a project that really needs Your Trusted Financial Advisor to bring it home for you. Pasted in below is a table of contents from an ICE book completed recently. The link will bring you to a sample book.
We are currently offering to prepare your ICE book for a flat $500 between now and 12/31/12.
Call us now and begin the process of giving your family and survivors peace of mind… In Case of Emergency.