The year 2018 has been no stranger to natural disasters. From multiple earthquakes, back-to-back hurricanes, and raging wildfires, the United States and abroad has suffered some serious natural disasters. These acts of nature can devastate your life and your family. Who knows what 2019 will bring.
In addition to creating a disaster preparedness plan for your family, be sure to protect your legal documents during these events. Below are several tips to follow so that you can ensure your important paperwork is safe if your home is damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster.
1. Make sure to back up electronically. Having an electronic backup, such as a secure cloud storage, can be useful. Electronic versions can serve as a legally valid substitute for a paper copy of your important documents in some circumstances.
2. Use a safe box. Whether this is a fire/water resistant one in your home or a safety deposit box at your local bank, using these types of boxes can be an easy precaution to the more minor natural disasters. These types of boxes can protect your important items during a natural disaster so that there is one less thing you need to worry about during a difficult time.
3. Create a “go” bag. This is useful when you are forewarned about a disaster, because a “go” bag can include all of your family documents, financial paperwork, legal documents, vaccination records, immigration and residency documents, among others safe and close to you.In addition to keeping all of your critical documents safe, make sure to have at least one extra copy in an easily accessible, off-site location and keep them in a sealed plastic bag.
After disaster strikes, first focus on your family’s safety. After the immediate aftermath is over be sure to replace any damaged or destroyed paperwork as soon as you can. While there may be other more pressing tasks post-natural disaster, do not neglect replacing these documents as it will be incredibly important later on for you and your family.