Preplanning a funeral is the responsible thing to do, yet many families still put it off. Understandably, talking about funerals and death can be a difficult topic.
If you’re looking for an easy solution to help families start discussing preplanning arrangements, help them create their own ICE book.
Preplan with ICE: In Case of Emergency
An ICE book or binder is a resourceful tool for families. It has important documents, contact information, and other vital info needed in the event of an emergency (such as a death, natural disaster, or house fire). It keeps families prepared for the worst, but also gets them to think about what they want for a funeral.
By encouraging them to create an ICE book, a family will have quick access to important legal forms and documents, as well as a better idea of the type of funeral or memorial service for their loved ones.
How to Get Started
Here are some ways to get families in your community into your funeral home and creating their own ICE books:
- Hold a how-to seminar at your funeral home or other venue and instruct families on putting together their own ICE book.
- Host an open house at your funeral home where you can talk to families one-on-one about creating an ICE book.
- Send an invitation in the mail asking families to stop in and talk about an ICE book and preplanning.
- Create your own how-to videos for YouTube explaining how and why families should create an ICE book. Make sure to have them contact you if they have any questions!
- Use a social media marketing campaign to reach more families.
As you can see, there are several ways to reach out. Use whichever works best for your funeral home and the families in your area. The important thing is to get these families thinking about their future and to help make sure they’re prepared.
What to Include in an ICE Book
As far as what to include in an ICE book, it will differ depending on each family’s unique situation. Here’s a list of some general important things to include in an ICE book:
- Copies of old tax returns (at least five years worth).
- Proof of income, like a pay stub.
- List of bank accounts and bank contact information.
- List of investments and debts.
- Copies of monthly bills and other utilities.
- Medical and dental records.
- Insurance information.
- Copies of birth certificates.
- Copies of social security cards and other state IDs such as driver licenses.
- Marriage and divorce certificates, if applicable.
- Copies of titles to vehicles.
- List of passwords, such as for online accounts or subscription services.
- Important family member contact information.
- Contact information for churches and religious groups that the deceased may have belonged to.
- A list of final wishes and arrangements for a funeral (for example, cremation or burial, open or closed casket, type of memorial service, etc.).
- Ideas for how a loved one would like to be remembered and memorialized.
- After families update their ICE book, make sure they update it at least once a year, or whenever there is a big life event.
- For today’s tech-savvy families, check out these ICE mobile apps.