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Residents of California know all too well that natural disasters are often unpredictable. However, even when we anticipate their arrival, they are usually devastating. For instance, earthquakes, hurricanes and wildfires often leave many injured and millions of dollars' worth of damage in their wake. For these reasons, it is best to prepare for the worst. This includes having a plan in place for your estate planning documents in the event of a natural disaster. Below, you will find some steps that you can take to protect your final wishes as outlined by your estate planning lawyer.
Lock Your Documents Away in a Secure Area
First, for physical copies of your estate planning documents, consider using protective cases. For example, many people keep their valuables in a lockbox, safe or safety deposit box. Using one of these items for your documents could help keep them safe during a natural disaster. Also, you can use protective plastic coverings for extra security against water or fire damage. Further, portable cases are a plus, since you can easily grab them if you are in a hurry to evacuate.
Back Up Your Estate Planning Documents Online
Although physical copies are useful, they are still susceptible to damage no matter how much protection you use. Thus, you should consider backing up your estate planning documents electronically. For instance, digital copies are easy to make. They can also be stored online or in the Cloud, making them easily accessible anywhere. Essentially, this means that even if you lose a hard copy in a natural disaster, your documents are not gone forever.
Make Copies of Your Estate Planning Documents and Distribute Them to Your Advisors
Finally, whether in hard copy or electronic form, it is a good idea to make duplicates of your estate planning documents. This includes your will, trust, insurance or retirement policies, tax returns and medical records. After doing this, you should then distribute the copies to trusted individuals, like your powers of attorney, certified public accountant (CPA) or financial advisor. Therefore, if you lose your personal copies, or cannot access them online, then you can turn to these individuals to recover your documents.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Upland, CA
At Family First Estate Planning Law Center, we serve families in the city of Upland and the surrounding areas. Whether you need to draft an estate plan or you need your current plan assessed, our family-focused approach has you covered. Also, if you are worried about losing your estate planning documents in a natural disaster, then we can help. Give us a call at (714) 591-0640 or leave us a message online to discuss your estate planning options.