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Did you ever think about how to recover once a natural disaster strikes? Have you
thought about what kinds of documents would be beneficial to have safeguarded for
emergencies? Whether you may live in an area susceptible to tornadoes, hurricanes,
earthquakes or hazardous fires you will want to have important documents protected.

What kinds of documents would this pertain to?

The IRS would like for all taxpayers to keep returns forever, but a good number to follow
would be for seven years. These documents should be kept in two forms and in different
safe keeping storage places. Your paper returns should be kept in a file and easily
accessible. Transfer your paper returns to an electronic storage device as your second
copy. Returns can be scanned and saved onto an electronic storage device, CD, DVD, or
flash drive. Keep them available to grab if you need to leave in an emergency, or better
yet have copies stored outside of your home. If you have made electronic copies, they are
small enough to fit in a bank safety deposit box or purchase a small lock box you can
store in a family member's home.

Bank records are easily stored electronically. If you do not use online banking, you can
scan paper copies and save them. Online banking provides statements which are easily
stored.

Insurance policies are important enough to scan and make copies as well. Any legal
documentation which you would need in the aftermath of a disaster would be beneficial
to backup and store separately. When your home has been destroyed, you will want to
make your claims as soon as possible. Making claims with insurance companies takes
time and if you have everything ready in a safe place, your recovery time will be
lessened.

You will want to take pictures or videotape items throughout your home and keep them
in two different places as well. Thanks to digital cameras and video equipment, keeping
this type of documentation stored electronically is a breeze. If your home is destroyed,
you will want visual proof of the items for insurance and casualty loss claims. The market
value of the items will be more easily proved with the photographic record.

When you set out to document everything and get it electronically backed up, it will be a
bit of a time investment. Updating will be simple. Having easy access to the items as you
leave your home during an emergency needs to be part of a well set plan. Review
emergency plans with your family a few times a year, more often if you have young
children. Your place of business should review yearly and update with any changes.
Since you may not be at home when a natural disaster strikes, it is a good strategy to have
copies of these items located elsewhere.
Take the time now to save the important documents now so when a disaster happens or
an IRS audit presents itself, you will have everything ready to process. You will thank
yourself for being prepared ahead of time.

				
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