Estate Sales, Valuations and Inventories for Attorneys and their Clients
 
Well everyone, hurricane season started on June 1st and lasts until November.  If you live in Florida or anywhere on the Gulf Coast or even up the Eastern Seaboard, you have to take special precautions to make sure that you and your family is protected from the financial devastation that can happen as a result of a natural disaster.  Remember hurricanes Andrew, Ivan & Katrina?  Total devastation.  Check out the tips below and be prepared.  Of course, we can also help you with an Asset Registry...  

1.
    
Make backup copies of all of your records. Make copies of important records and documents and safely secure them in another location. Items should include photos of everything you own, credit card numbers, insurance policies, financial records, deeds and titles, wills and trusts, Social Security cards, prescriptions and medical records, emergency contact lists and spare keys.


     a.     Maintain a one-page key financial contacts list. These are phone numbers of companies you would call to alert them of your special circumstances and discuss your options. Include phone and account numbers for your bank, mortgage, credit card, investment and insurance companies.

2.     Create a "grab and go" fire- and waterproof box with important financial documents. Include recent checking, savings, credit card and investment account statements; your key financial contacts list; federal and state tax returns; mortgage and insurance information; your social security card; and a supply of cash.

3.     Ensure you have access to cash

     a.     Carry your ATM or debit card with you at all times

     b.    Build a "safety balance" in your checking or savings account that can be tapped at times of crisis, and consider an "emergency" line of credit (like a home equity line of credit)

4.     Consider overdraft protection, linking your checking account to a savings account or credit card.

5.     Use direct deposit of payroll so your pay is automatically deposited into your checking account.

    a.     And since there may be no power after a disaster, stash a sufficient amount of cash, traveler & checks, and a roll of quarters (to use in pay phones) in a disaster supplies kit that you keep at home and can take with you.

6.     Understand your expenses and create a budget. Know how much you spend each month on your rent or mortgage, food, gas, medicine, and other basic expenses. This information will be helpful if you are receiving financial assistance from a nonprofit or government agency.

7.     Review disaster insurance policies. Don’t feel overly secure simply because you have insurance. Review plans and ask your insurance providers questions about:

     a.     Replacement of home or property. Your mortgage could exceed the value assigned to your property. Find out the maximum value of "full replacement" insurance, and consider a guaranteed replacement cost policy.

     b.     Home contents. Renters and homeowners can insure their belongings. Standard policies are for actual cash value, not replacement cost.

     c.     Watch out for deductibles, restrictions or omissions on floods, hurricanes and other "natural disasters."

     d.    Clarify what "living expenses" are if you need to stay in a motel for an extended period of time.

     e.      Consider a rider policy if your homeowners policy doesn’t cover computers, home offices, jewelry, artwork or other expensive items.
 


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