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Expecting the Unexpected: What Documents to Gather

Expecting the Unexpected: What Documents to Gather

Are you ready for the unexpected? Planning ahead by gathering key documents can go a long way toward reducing problems for you if an unforeseen disaster ever strikes. Because many disasters give little or no warning, it is important to take the time to prepare now — saving time, money and heartache in the event of an emergency.

To protect your family and financial health, you should compile important documents that are easily accessible and ready to take at a moment’s notice. These are the documents needed to rebuild your life if necessary. Remember, too, that documents can be unexpectedly destroyed in a natural disaster; you may want to scan vital paperwork (and items of sentimental value) so these items can be digitized and saved online.

Consider placing important documents in a three-ring binder or folder that can be stored in a waterproof bag and easily taken with you. You can also use free apps to make this process easier. Several apps will help you create a home inventory and keep an updated digital record of important documents, valuable possessions, routine home maintenance and more.

The information you should save and protect should include, but are not limited to:

  • Identification, such as your driver’s license, passport (original copies are necessary to discern your identity with financial companies) and Social Security card
  • Family records and certificates, such as birth, adoption, marriage, divorce and death records. Don’t forget military discharge papers and immunization records if you have them
  • Insurance information for health, life, home and vehicle, including a Medicare card
  • Your will and trust records
  • Living will and other health directives
  • Power of attorney
  • Property deed and mortgage papers
  • • Vehicle title and registration
  • W-2 (last 3 years)
  • 1098 and 1099 forms
  • A detailed video of your home contents, interior and exterior home condition and especially any valuables that can be saved in a digital cloud

Planning for a disaster is not something many like to think about, but following these steps can help you to feel more secure for the future.


The information contained herein has been obtained by sources we consider reliable, but is not guaranteed and we are not soliciting any action based upon it. D.A. Davidson & Co. is a registered broker-dealer and registered investment adviser that does not provide tax or legal advice. Questions about tax or legal concepts should be directed to your tax professional and/or attorney. Copyright D.A. Davidson & Co., 2021. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.

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