Life Documents File

Emergency managers are always telling us how important it is to "be prepared" for a hurricane. For most people, that means having extra food and supplies, but being "prepared" should also include "legal planning". Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.

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Attorney Frank Edens of U.S. Legal Forms Incorporated says keeping a file of important legal documents for use after a disaster is every bit as important as food, clothing and housing, but hardly anyone does it.

"They think about their health life, their entertainment life, their family life, but they don't think about their legal life."

Edens says everyone should keep a "Life Documents File" because it'll help a family get through the immediate emergency, and, if worst comes to worst, it'll help the family's heirs. That's especially true if people have to evacuate to another city or state, as thousands of people did last year. He says there are some things people should never leave home without.

"Things like birth certificates, adoption certificates, passports, marriage certificates, divorce documents, titles, deeds, loan documents, your will, your living will, your powers of attorney, your trusts."

All those official things disaster relief workers will ask for when you're applying for aid. Keeping a Life Documents File is one thing -- keeping it safe and handy is another. He recommends keeping duplicate copies in a home safe, a bank safety deposit box, and, in the home or office of a trusted friend or relative. That's important for two reasons.

"If something happens to your home and it's destroyed or burned or something, you would have access to them, and second, if something happens to you then somebody else would have a copy of your documents."

Edens' online firm -- U.S. Legal Forms -- provides a Life Documents File kit at no cost on its website.

"It's at US Legal Forms dot com."

Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.
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