Have you already heard this month has been declared an annual time to prepare for emergency situations? Who wants to think about emergencies or natural disasters that can occur, and get organized to be ready for them? I’m guessing most people are not thrilled about the idea. It is, however, important and can make a drastic difference in your life.
If you feel prepared for emergency situations, it won’t be one of those nagging concerns that plagues your mind every so often. Also, if and when an emergency results, you’ll be ahead of the curve and in a much better place than those who have not organized themselves. Fire, floods, hurricanes, etc. are unavoidable disasters, but you can avoid the subsequent personal disasters that they often cause.
Make sure to develop a personal or family disaster plan and assemble an emergency supply kit. If you need assistance doing these tasks, there is a link provided in the right column of this newsletter to help you. Below you will find tips to prepare yourself legally for emergency situations.
5 TIPS TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR DISASTERS
1. Get proper insurance for your home and assets in case they are destroyed. Assess what your assets are, and make certain that you have the best insurance coverage that you can afford. If you are a renter, make sure to get renter’s insurance. Proper inventory and photos of your assets (stored and backed up in safe places) could prove invaluable if a disaster claims your possessions.
2. Prepare a thorough emergency contact list so your family/friends don’t have to search for those to contact in an emergency situation. Also, let them know where to find it. Having multiple copies in different places would be ideal. Your list should include family physicians, utility companies, insurance carriers, and your legal services.
3. Make sure your critical documents are stored in a safe place. Place your most important documents, including your will, insurance policies, and other important paperwork in a safe deposit box, fireproof safe or other secure place where they can be retrieved in the event of an emergency. Tell trusted members of your family or friends where they are stored as well.
4. Ensure your family is cared for if anything drastic happens to you by preparing a will. A will insures that your assets will go to who you intend them to go to, and may direct guardianship if you have children. Every adult needs a current will (and an estate plan if you have an estate).
5. Make sure your family and physicians are aware of how you want to be cared for if you are critically and permanently injured by having a “living will” (also known as an advance medical directive, or AMD). This document names the individual you choose to make critical healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated.