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Spouses, cross-train!

CHERYL TEVIS 03/12/2014 @ 10:18am Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

As farming and raising a family become more complex and challenging, it’s not surprising that spouses divide and conquer the list of chores that need to be done. What happens when your spouse unexpectedly is sidelined by a serious injury or illness?

Creating a common file of information – including key passwords, emergency contacts, business contacts, personal records, insurance agents, and account numbers – can provide welcome peace of mind. After it’s complete, don’t forget to update your file every few years.

Get started today to gather and share these vital facts of life (and death).


Know the company name, phone numbers, maintenance records, and passwords for the following.

  • Utilities and bills: This includes gas, water, electric, telephone, and cable TV.
  • Contractors and service workers: List repair persons for plumbing, air conditioning, heating, auto, and other chores.
  • Professionals: Include physicians, attorneys, financial advisers, and insurance reps.


  • Caregivers: Compile names and phone numbers of people who are responsible for your children, elderly parents, and pets. You’ll need physicians and hospital of choice in case of an emergency.
  • Medications: Maintain a list of medications and dosages for children, parents, and pets.
  • School: Include names of teachers, the schools’ main phone numbers, email addresses, and the names of principals.
  • Relatives and friends: In case of an emergency, list names of relatives and friends who should be notified.


  • Taxes: Gather contact information for your accountant or tax preparer. Note the location where back taxes and current tax documents are filed.
  • Loans: Include names of lenders, amounts owed, account numbers, passwords, and phone numbers.
  • Retirement plans: List your retirement account, latest Social Security benefit statement, 401(k), IRA plan, and so on.
  • Credit cards: Record all account numbers and outstanding debts, along with phone numbers in case accounts need to be cancelled.
  • Power of attorney: If assets aren’t owned jointly, spouses should have power of attorney for each other. Store this information.
  • Checking and savings accounts and ATM information: Record passwords and PIN codes. Share any online passwords and note the place where the checkbooks are kept.  

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