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If you had to leave your house quickly, would you scramble looking for essential documents? Probably not, right? You’d worry about getting yourself, your family and pets out quickly.
But as soon as you did get out, you’d probably think – what about our birth certificates, social security cards, financial records, family pictures… It’d be a nightmare replacing everything, and some of it would be irreplaceable.
People in the Houston area facing Hurricane Harvey never expected to have to abandon entire towns. And just five years ago homes all over the New Jersey and New York coasts – many in my own town – were lost in Superstorm Sandy.
Wouldn’t it feel more secure to have that stuff – just the important stuff – in one secure box that you could grab in a second?
Even without a fire or the storm of the decade. Maybe you’re just looking for birth certificates to register the kids for soccer. Here’s a list of essential documents everyone should have in one secure, easy to access location.
18 Essential Documents to Gather Today to Protect Yourself
- Birth certificates or adoption certificates.
- Social Security cards
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decree
- Military discharge papers.
- Backup of important photos or files on USB drive
- Loan documents (home mortgage, auto loan, personal loan).
- Insurance policy declaration pages (home or renter’s, auto).
- Health insurance cards.
- Deeds to any property.
- Financial statements (checking, savings, IRA)
- Trust document.
- Living Will
- Naturalization document
- Letter of Instruction
- Power of Attorney document
Now, you may not have every one of the 18 essential documents. But gathering the ones you do have into one secure bundle that you can grab in a second could save you precious time and let you focus on your family.
I’ve checked around for a decent quality, fire and water resistant box that’s big enough to hold letter-sized documents. Almost all the basic ones I’ve seen that are below $30 are rated very poorly. This one is the least expensive I’ve seen that’ll hold documents without folding them and will still protect them.
Just the act of getting these documents together could alert you to the fact that you’ve lost or misplaced a few, so you’ll have a chance to replace them. So, on the next rainy weekend take 30 minutes and get yours together.
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