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Disaster or Evacuation Box

Rebuilding, Without Financial Records

"If you have a disaster box with your important papers, what happens if you can't get back into your home to retrieve it?"

The best way to protect your documents is to put them on a computer disk or flash drive and give them to a friend or trusted family member who doesn't live near you. However, if you don't take this advice and your documents are destroyed, there is one good place to start your reconstruction -- your tax return.

Note: The following remains a generally good list for a "Disaster or Evacuation Box" but should be implemented using storage on computer disk stored away from your residence.

Evacuation Box

     The list below contains information and documents you will need for
     income tax and insurance purposes if you are the victim of a disaster.
     It is recommended that you assemble these items in an easy to carry
     box(es) so you will be better prepared if (or when) the next disaster

     1. Copies of the past four years' tax returns.  If you have a
     business, you should also include any business returns (such as
     corporate, sales tax, payroll, etc.).

     2. Copy of final escrow for home purchase if you own your home and a
     list of any major improvements to the home and their cost.

     3. Copies of important papers such as birth certificates, citizenship
     papers, social security cards, green cards, etc.

     4. Copies of driver's license(s) for all drivers in the family, car
     title and registration for all cars owned or leased by the family.

     5. A list of all current prescription medication including the name
     and strength of medication and the telephone numbers for family
     doctors and pharmacies.

     6. A notebook containing negatives of important family photos.

     7. Photos or a video tape of the inside and outside of the house; a
     copy of the photos or tape should also be in your safe deposit box.

     8. Copies of all insurance policies (home, life, auto).

     9. Important telephone numbers for family members, doctors, baby
     sitters, schools, work numbers, emergency numbers such as fire,
     police, ambulance (911 and local numbers) and the telephone number for
     an out of town contact (relative or friend).

     10. A list of investments, bank accounts, credit card numbers and
     other important account numbers with telephone numbers for each.  For
     example, the name, account number and broker who holds investments
     which might be needed for emergency money.

     IRS The Bottom Line

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