Tips for Keeping Estate Planning Documents Safe from Natural Disasters
Living in Florida, it is always important to plan for worst-case scenarios regarding the weather. Hurricane Irma was only our most recent reminder of this. Part of your plan should include how you can protect important estate planning and financial documents.
Below are a few ways you can safeguard these documents when inclement weather and flooding are real concerns:
- Create backups: Have digital backups of all your important documents. If you do not have a physical scanner, there are plenty of free apps available on both Android and Apple devices that allow you to make quick scans of your documents. You can either save documents on the devices, send them to yourself via email or upload them to cloud platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive.
- Use waterproof containers: Even when just stashing documents in your office or in a space at home, use waterproof containers. Special waterproof pouches, bags and file folders all work well. The filing cabinets or containers themselves should also be water- and fireproof.
- Store documents at a third-party location: Many banks have safe deposit boxes that are waterproof and fireproof, and these buildings are often designed to withstand extremely severe weather. You might also opt to store copies of your documents at the home of a friend or relative who lives elsewhere, or at your attorney’s office.
Which documents do you need to protect? It’s better to be safe than sorry, so any document you feel is important should certainly be subject to your protection. Common examples include any vital records (birth certificates, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards), insurance policies, property records, medical information, estate planning documents and financial records.
To learn more about protecting your documents from natural disasters and for further guidance on setting up an estate plan that’s right for you, meet with an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.