Trust Services and SIMPLIFY
Preparing Your Finances and Family for a Disaster
August 13, 2018
The following was written by Lantz Bowman, a Senior Private Wealth Advisor located in Ronald Blue Trust’s branch office in Houston, Texas.
No matter where you live, there is always a risk that some form of disaster could occur. With some events, like a hurricane or winter storm, we have several days’ notice to prepare and/or evacuate, while others may give us little to no warning at all. The key is to prepare and plan ahead before you face this type of adversity so that you are not left scrambling when disaster strikes. Here are some steps you can take now to protect your family and assets in case of an emergency:
Check your insurance policies.
Purchase a sufficient amount of life insurance and disability insurance coverage to provide for your family’s needs in case you (or your spouse) are no longer able to work. Review your homeowners, auto, and flood insurance policies to confirm you have enough coverage to replace your property if it is damaged or destroyed.
Get your paperwork ready.
Complete your wills, trusts, and other important estate-planning documents for you, your spouse, and any dependent children over the age of 18. Secure all original personal documents (birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage license, passports, house deed, automobile titles, etc.) in a single location. Also include your financial accounts with the name of the institution, phone number, account number, web address along with your online user ID and passwords. It’s wise to store them in a Ziploc bag in a fireproof box or a safe in your home.
Create a hard copy contact list.
List the name, phone number, and email address for each of your family members as well as your professional advisors (e.g., financial planner, CPA, attorney, insurance agent, etc.). Keep the list in your fireproof box or safe.
Take pictures and go digital.
At least once a year, take photos and videos of your house (inside and out) to document your personal assets. Make digital copies of receipts for major purchases (e.g., furniture, appliances, electronics, etc.). Record serial numbers for your major appliances. Save digital copies (password protected) of all your important documents listed previously, along with any important files and digital photos, on a secure cloud-based application or external hard drive. Sign up for electronic delivery for all bills and financial accounts in case you are displaced from your home and cannot receive mail.
Stock up on supplies.
Prepare a “go bag” with
(this link will take you to ready.gov, a public service site for emergency preparedness by the Department of Homeland Security). Keep the bag near your safe/fireproof box so you can grab it quickly in case you need to leave your home.
Pack your car.
Keep a change of clothes (warm clothes and boots for colder climates), rain poncho, comfortable shoes, and possibly a secondary “go bag” in your car.
Report any losses.
After the disaster/event, take pictures to document any property damage before you begin any repairs or discard anything. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to start your claim process.
I also suggest that you always keep your gas tank more than one-quarter full and learn CPR and basic first aid. In a disaster situation, emergency responders may not be able to reach you or your loved ones to provide medical assistance.
At Ronald Blue Trust, we are committed to helping you plan not only for your finances, but also for all areas of your life. To learn more about our services, please contact a Ronald Blue Trust advisor, call us at 800.987.2987, or email
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This content has been updated since its original posting on September 25, 2017.
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