Protect Your Finances – Plan Today for an Emergency Tomorrow by Organizing Your Records Now

head-in-hands No one expects to be the victim of a disaster, but every year, people find themselves in the midst of fires, floods, earthquakes, and other catastrophic events, with little, if any, time to prepare.

With the fires and heavy rainfall that has hit California recently, it’s best to be prepared. And, every year, personal and financial records are lost because they can’t be located quickly in an emergency.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to organize your business and personal records and essential information so that they’re easily accessible if you are forced to leave your home suddenly.

What To Include

You’ll want to safeguard both personal and financial records.

Personal Records:

Birth certificates for you and your family
Adoption papers
Social Security cards
Health insurance identification cards
Marriage certificate, divorce decree, or separation agreement
Passports

Financial Records:

Deeds to your home and other property
Vehicle titles and registrations
Auto, life, and homeowners insurance policies
Bank account information
Investment records
Wills, trust agreements, and other estate planning documents
Mortgage and loan agreements
Credit card information
Copies of tax returns
You may also want to make a list of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your financial institution, insurance agent, attorney, doctor, and financial advisor, and keep them with your records.

You’ve Gathered Them — Now What?

Now that you have all your important documents together, you’ll want to keep them that way. A fireproof box that you can take with you during an evacuation is one option. But you also should keep copies of all important documents in a safe place outside your home.

You could rent a safe deposit box and keep copies there. Just be sure that someone who doesn’t live in your home has a key. You may even want to stash some extra cash or a credit card in both places to cover expenses such as food or a hotel room.

Your Life in Words and Pictures

Having a list of what you own can help you with insurance claims or tax deductions in the event of a loss. Take an inventory of your furniture, audio and video equipment, appliances, computer equipment, jewelry, collectibles, and other expensive items. Write down what you paid for the items, and keep the list, along with sales receipts, with your important documents.

Photographing or videotaping your possessions can help you prove what you owned. Include the photos or tape in your fireproof container or safe deposit box.

You can buy computer software programs to help you organize your records. Make sure you print out a hard copy of the information or copy it to a disk and store it with your other important documents.

For more tips on how to keep business best practices front and center for your company, give us a call today at 949-759-5626. We offer a full range of business accounting services. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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