Important documentation in an emergency
Consider the following:
Making a list of the following. Leave a copy of this list with a trusted contact. Update it periodically and carry it with you when moving from one locale to another.
- Passport numbers and dates of issue
- Bank account number
- Credit card number
- Insurance policy number
- Car registration, serial, and license number
- U.S. driver’s license number
- Social Security numbers, including children’s
- Current prescriptions, including eyeglasses
- Contents and location of safe deposit box(es)
- Assets and debts
- Names and address book
Make copies of the following. Take one with you, leave the other in a secured deposit box.
- Copy of will(s). Originals should be left with lawyer or executor, not in safe depository.
- School Records (yours and children's)
- Medical/dental records, immunization cards
- Power of attorney (one of the originals)
- Birth and marriage certificate
- Naturalization papers
- Driver’s license, auto insurance policies, auto registration, and title, if applicable
- Stocks (or leave with broker in case you want to sell)
- Bonds (or leave with broker in case you want to sell)
- Insurance papers - life, car, house, medical, and household effects (HHE)
- School records, report cards, test scores, and current samples of work
- Current household effects inventory
- Personal checks, check registers, latest bank statement
- Execute a current power of attorney for each adult family member and have several originals made. Make several copies as well. These are needed to transact business on behalf of spouse or other adult.
- Give some thought to other important documentation that would be useful to you during or after an emergency.
Additional steps to consider.
- Establish credit that will be adequate for emergencies. Obtain individual credit cards for spouse.
- Establish a joint checking account, or two joint checking accounts, enabling each spouse to work from either in the event they are separated for a period of time.
- Get an automatic teller machine (ATM) card for your bank account that can be used all over the country and internationally. Make sure both spouses know the personal identification number (PIN).
- Put checkbooks, bank books, credit cards, some travelers checks, and a small amount of cash in a safe (but easily accessible) place.
- Keep a list of regular billing dates for all recurring expenses — insurance, mortgages, and taxes.
- Make and continually update an inventory of all your possessions, including jewelry and clothing.
- Decide what to take and what to leave. Consider putting items into storage that can’t be replaced.
- Consider personal property insurance.
- Update scrapbook and photo albums. Consider leaving sentimental photos and negatives or duplicate photos in storage or with a relative. Put photos on CDs!
- Make duplicates of all personal address lists.
- Consolidate all personal records, financial documents, school records, etc.
- Prepare your house for evacuation — secure valuables.
- Plan for pets. You may not be able to take them with you. Make advance arrangements for their care, food, etc. Keep the pets’ records updated and with you.
- Decide how money will be handled. Who will pay bills? Will you continue to use the joint checking account?
Keep a small amount of cash set aside in a safe place. Allow for enough to sustain you through an emergency.