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Estate planning and disaster preparedness

With the recent amount of natural disasters across the country, Kent area residents may wonder if they will ever be affected by an unexpected disaster. Unfortunately, these can happen at any time and virtually anywhere. Planning for a disaster is something many families have taken the time to do. But, families may not have thought about their estate plan in the event of a disaster.

No one expects they will be a victim of a disaster. Whether it be a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, etc., these disasters can be a major event. If a family is not prepared, they can find themselves scrambling when it comes to their estate planning and financial information. In order to be better prepared, families need to have a plan to secure important information and make it accessible in the event of a disaster.

There are many ways in which a family can store their information securely. There are cloud-based formats that act as online vaults that can store information. Other families may have fire proof safes that contain the information that can be accessed at any time. Or, others may keep their passwords and login information in their purse or wallet, so they are always on them. Regardless of how a family stores information, there is information that needs to be included.

First, account numbers and passwords for all important financial accounts, online accounts, social media accounts, and any other account a person would need to access should be included. It is best not to store the account number and the password in the same location. Second, copies of legal documents need to be stored in a secure location. These include powers of attorney, wills, trusts, deeds and titles to houses and other property, and health care proxies. Finally, a family should secure the names and contact information of their advisors, including attorneys, financial planners and insurance agents.

Although most families will not have to deal with a disaster, having a plan in case something happens is always a good idea. Regardless of whether a family needs to rely on disaster plans, when all information is stored in a secure location, it can help a family feel at ease.

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