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In these uncertain times, there has never been a better opportunity to make sure you have all your legal documents together in a safe place.
It is always a good idea to know where important papers are and how to get them – and fast. Not only during a pandemic, but for emergencies like tornadoes, a flood or a fire.
Here are legal documents you might need in case of an emergency. We encourage you to check for them, put them all in a safe place (ideally a fire-safe box) and update them as needed. Read on:
Birth certificates and passports
Make sure every member of your family has either a birth certificate or passport easily available. And make sure you have the birth certificate with the raised seal and your passport isn’t expired (or will expire soon).
Marriage and adoption papers
If you are married or have adopted children, you might need to prove this status during an emergency. Make sure you know where your marriage license is and locate any adoption papers or certificates as well, in case you have to prove your children are legally yours.
Social Security cards
Every member of your family should have a Social Security card, so make sure you have them all and put them all in the same place. This is valuable information during a crisis, as it is a way to prove who you are and it might be necessary to get aid or other relief.
We aren’t talking about your precious family photos. You should be backing those up to an offsite or cloud service. We are talking about having a recent family photo so you can show it to others if your family is missing or separated.
Financial and medical documents
Make sure you have copies of credit cards, bank statements and other financial documents as well. You might include a copy of your tax return, your mortgage or deed, a lease or rental agreement and business papers if you own a business.
In addition, add insurance information to this toolkit, in case you need to file a claim.
Including medical documents like insurance cards, allergy or immunization records and a copy of prescription medications is also a good idea.
Make sure you have an up-to-date will, living will or trust. And power of attorney, if necessary, so someone can make decisions on your behalf.
Include naturalization or immigration papers if that applies to you or a family member.
Connor Kimmet and Hafenstein LLP
At Connor Kimmet and Hafenstein LLP, we hope you and your family are safe and healthy.