Get Prepared by Putting Your Papers in Order

Are your papers in order? No, I’m not talking about the papers you might have to show the guard at a checkpoint. Though that might happen one day.

I’m talking about your personal documents. It’s best to get prepared by putting your papers in order.


What If…

If you or a loved one dies, or if a natural disaster destroys your home, you’ll wish you had organized those vital personal documents. It’s better to do it now as part of your prepping strategy.

Think of what would happen if a family member were suddenly killed by a drunk driver. Or what would happen if you found out you had cancer? Wouldn’t you want to be prepared in a way that would make things easier on loved ones after you’re gone? Having instructions written out will prevent stress and conflict.

Joyce Moseley Pierce has a 32 page guidebook to help you. It’s called All They’ll Need to Know. Because this is an important subject that isn’t discussed much, I interviewed Joyce for this week’s DestinySurvival Radio show. We started out by talking about how the book came to be, and went on to cover highlights of the book’s content.


About Joyce Moseley Pierce

In addition to being the creator of All They’ll Need to Know, Joyce is the owner of and Emerson Publications. She’s the family preparedness expert for and host of the Prepared In Every Way Show on the Preparedness Radio Network.

Joyce is a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. In 2010, after 30 years of working on writing about her own trials, she published her first novel, Saving Nikki.

She loves to talk to people about the importance of being prepared in all areas of life. She says preparedness is not just about food storage or moving toward living off the grid.


About the Book

All They’ll Need to Know is a modestly priced workbook available in two electronic formats–PDF and Word. Print out the PDF and fill in the pages, or use the Word file to write out info on your computer.

Flexibility is an advantage. Print out the pages and put them in a three ring notebook. Cover the pages with page protectors. Make extra pages if you need them. Include copies of documents you value, including your will.

Update information at least once a year. Tax season is a good time, since you’re shuffling financial records anyway. Or update more often if circumstances dictate. Joyce mentioned needing to update debit card numbers, since her bank spotted a fraudulant charge and changed her card.

Also, why not scan your documents and put a completed copy of All They’ll Need to Know on a flash drive to have in a bug out bag?

Joyce recommends putting your completed workbook in a fireproof box. Make sure others you consider to be truly trustworthy know where your notebook is. Practice security, since you’ll be including a great deal of personal information you don’t want to get into the wrong hands.

Here’s an overview of the pages and forms in Joyce’s book.

  • Personal Information
  • Vital Statistics
  • Professional Record
  • Military Service Record
  • Will and Special Distributions
  • Who to Notify
  • Funeral Instructions
  • Other Options
  • Cemetery Information
  • Financial Information
  • Checking Accounts
  • Safe Deposit Box
  • Savings Accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds
  • Employee Savings Plans
  • Profit Sharing Plans
  • Retirement Programs
  • Trust Accounts
  • Real Estate
  • Loans Receivable
  • Other Savings or Investments
  • Liabilities
  • Automobiles
  • Personal Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Medical Information
  • Credit Card Information
  • Business Online
  • Helpful Numbers
  • Additional Details


Do it Now!

Having all this information together is one way to show consideration to others. Over the past few years my wife has helped a friend of ours with his affairs. More recently she’s helped her cousin get things together after his wife died from cancer. As you might expect, we’ve learned a few of life’s lessons along the way.

You and I naturally avoid talking about death. And we don’t anticipate losing everything to a fire or hurricane. That stuff always happens to the other guy. But anything you can write down now is better than doing nothing. Joyce urges you and me not to procrastinate. We never know what might happen even this very day. And we’re not guaranteed tomorrow.

Getting your papers in order is likely to be a time consuming project, but it’s well worth it. Of course, you don’t have to do it all at once. But it’s something that can simplify your life and give you peace of mind.


Find Out More

Hear my whole conversation with Joyce Moseley Pierce when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for December 5, 2013. (Right click to download.) Get your copy of All They’ll Need to Know when you go to Joyce’s site at

By the way, I don’t earn any commission from the sale of this book. But, in the interest of full disclosure, Joyce was kind enough to send it to me after our conversation, and I’m grateful to her.

Have you put your papers in order? What advice would you have for others? Feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts to help other readers.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.