As I write this blog, Hurricane Harvey is unleashing its fury along the coast of Texas and is moving into Louisiana. A record amount of rain has drenched the area. Thousands have been forced from their homes.
In my state of Vermont, six years ago Hurricane Irene hit our state. The speed and amount of rainfall overwhelmed the mountainous stream beds, causing severe flooding in many areas and forcing people from their homes.
It could be an ice storm, tornado or forest fire. Disaster can hit anywhere at any time.
Many of us have emergency plans including lists of family members’ contact information, designated rendezvous points, information about pets, and copies of prescriptions. You may have a disaster kit at the ready should you need to evacuate.
In this planning, have your considered your personal and financial documents?
There are different ways to handle your documents.
One is to create digital copies and put the copies on two thumb drives – one drive to keep in your safe deposit box, and another to take with you. You will need to keep your thumb drive and its contents secure.
Another option is to store your documents in the cloud using a service such as Drop Box or Box. Since your documents contain sensitive personal information, password protect your information with an extremely strong password. If you don’t have it memorized, have the password ready to go should you need to leave quickly.
Documents to scan and store include:
- Bank and investment account numbers
- Insurance policies
- Estate planning documents including wills and trusts
- Advanced directives
- Mortgage, automobile and other loan papers
- Car Titles
- Car registrations
- Drivers’ licenses
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Licenses
- Military discharge papers
- Social Security cards
- Health Insurance cards
Once you have your information scanned and stored, you will need to update it periodically. One way to remember is to make a future appointment with yourself in your calendar.
Once you have your critical documents gathered, you can probably scan them in about an hour. This hour of preparation could save you several hours of frustration should you ever need to vacate your home in an emergency and leave all your paper documents behind.
Click here to learn how to prepare a disaster kit.
This blog is published to provide you with general information only, and is not intended to provide specific or comprehensive advice. Money Care, LLC encourages individuals to seek advice from competent professionals when appropriate.