27 Sep Legal Lessons From a Hurricane
What to leave, what to take? Those are some of the hardest questions after securing one’s home and making sure the family is safe. From your lawyer’s point of view, some of the most important documents to take are the original Deed to your home and any other properties you own, title to any particularly valuable items, and photographs of your home and property in anticipation of a potential future insurance claim (more on that later).
But, for lawyers who care about our clients’ legacies and their taking care of those that they love, perhaps the most important thing that needs to be taken, in a hurricane or other natural disaster, is our clients’ estate planning documents. This is why we put our documents in an easily portable folder. If you are forced to evacuate, it is so important that you take your Power of Attorney, Trust, Will, and Health Care Surrogate with you.
In my family, we have a portable fireproof and waterproof safe hidden in our home. While not easy to locate, it is simple to grab the safe and take it with us in the event of an evacuation. In addition to those things listed above, we also have in our safe some of the heirloom jewelry which has been passed down through the generations.
With respect to an insurance claim for hurricane damage, we have it on good authority from the insurance industry that hurricane damage is considered an “act of God” and therefore will not be held against you with regard to raising future premiums. Our friends in the insurance industry actually encourage people to submit claims for damage caused by hurricanes.
If in reviewing this article, you realize that your estate planning documents are either very old or nonexistent, we hope that you will take the opportunity to schedule a meeting with Rock Solid Law by calling 904-241-1113 so that we can help you show your love for those you treasure. Some examples of when it is time to have Trusts and Wills revised are when there are major life changes, such as births, deaths, marriages or divorces, or simply that five years have passed since the last time your documents have been reviewed and updated. If any of those circumstances have occurred, we hope that our clients and friends will allow us to assist them before the next hurricane passes by.