Disaster Preparedness: Protecting Your Most Important Documents

As we’ve seen in recent months, Mother Nature can wreak havoc on us with little to no warning. Even when weather forecasters predict a coming storm, it’s still difficult to know when and where the most damage will occur. We all try to safeguard our homes and possessions against damage. Your most important documents also merit consideration. When preparing for an upcoming disaster, make protecting your important legal documents a priority.

Hopefully, your Will, deeds, powers of attorney, birth certificates and the like are organized and kept in one location. If not, take a few moments to gather these documents and put them in a safe place.

But what are the best ways to protect documents?

  • Safe deposit box. Some people keep their important documents in a safe deposit box. But even bank safe deposit boxes can flood. Protect your documents and valuables by placing them in waterproof bags or boxes.
  • Safe or lockbox. You can buy a water-proof, fire-resistant safe or lockbox to keep in your home. Even here, though, your important documents need a little more protection. Waterproof bags and boxes can make the difference between a pristine Will and a soggy mess.
  • Online. Digital storage sites exist where people can scan and save copies of their important documents for a small monthly or annual fee. As with the other methods of storage, someone needs to know that the documents are saved there and how to access them. It’s still best to protect your original documents, but saving your documents to the cloud means you will at least have a copy.
  • With your attorney. Some lawyers offer to keep original estate plan documents in a fire-proof safe. If you are interested in this option, discuss it with your attorney.

Give copies of your Will and other documents to trusted family members, executors, trustees. In the alternative, at least make sure your family members know where the originals or copies of your documents are located. Your family doctor should get a copy of any health care directives.

As you prepare your home for a natural disaster that may flood your home or expose its contents to the elements, spend a few moments putting your important document in a safe place. Taking them with you is also an option, but slip them into waterproof storage bags first. However you choose to protect your documents, let your family know. You could save them time, money, and stress.

We look forward to helping you preserve and protect your legacy through strong estate planning and careful protection of your documents. Please call us at 772-324-9050 to schedule an appointment or complete our convenient Contact Form. Located in Palm City in Martin County, we also serve other surrounding areas like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter.

Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.