Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Disaster-Proof Your Important Papers

In case you have to evacuate your home in an emergency, keep copies of your most vital papers in a portable container you can easily take with you.
There would include:
  • Birth certificates and adoption records
  • Marriage certificates and divorce decrees
  • Drivers' licenses
  • Passports/Visas/Green cards
  • Social Security cards
  • Titles, deeds and registrations for property owned
  • Wills and trust documents
  • Mortgage and loan information
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank account records
  • Investment account records
  • Credit card numbers

Keep original copies of difficult-to-replace documents, such as birth certificates and titles, in a safe deposit box. Make sure the box is held in more than one person's name. While information regarding bank accounts, insurance policies, and investments can be reproduced from account numbers, having immediate access to hard copy may be helpful.

Keep a list of all the documents you have and where they are located.
Make sure that those who need access to them know where to find this master list. Kiplinger's Your Family Records Organizer (; 800-280-7165, Operator 89) is a CD-ROM product created to help you keep track of all these documents.

Key contact numbers to carry in your wallet: Doctor...employer/spouse's employer...children's agents...minister, rabbi or priest...close relatives, friends and neighbors...utility companies...alarm-system company.

(Source: Barbara Hemphill, "Kiplinger's Personal Finance -Taming the Paper Tiger at Home," pg. 90)