If an emergency forces you and your family to leave your home for a while, you may need some important documents like passports, insurance paperwork, social security and birth certificates, home title, recent bank statements, cash, and more.
You can keep these items in a safe and make sure they are part of your grab in the case of a bug out.
** BEFORE YOU BEGIN **
The first and most important step: make sure you have prepared a WUSH Bag, and that it is small enough to integrate into this larger long-term kit.
If you haven't done this yet, go read this article then come back here.
Once you've got your WUSH bag together, start collecting your important documents.
Get yourself an inexpensive flatbed scanner so you can start making digital copies of your important documents, or use your phone to take photos.
At a minimum you should have copies of:
- Your drivers license, or other photo ID
- List of important phone numbers (have a printed copy too)
- Medical ID cards and insurance Info
- Copies of credit cards
- Bank statements which show account numbers
- Social security cards
Here is a list of other legal documents you should have copies of, if you have them:
- An original will
- A revocable living trust
- A "letter of instruction"
- Durable financial power-of-attorney form
- Documentation of housing and land ownership, cemetery plots, vehicles, stock certificates and savings bonds; any partnership or corporate operating agreements; and a list of brokerage and escrow mortgage accounts
- Documents that list loans you have made to others
- List of any debts you owe to avoid surprising your family
- Most recent three years of tax returns available
- A list of all accounts and online log-in information
- Safe-deposit boxes you own
- Durable health-care power-of-attorney form
- Authorization to Release Protected Healthcare Information form
- A living will detailing your wishes
- Copies of life-insurance policies
- A list of pensions, annuities, individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s for your spouse and children
- Your marriage license
- A copy of the most recent child-support payment order
- Copy of any "qualified domestic-relations orders"
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Corsair Flash Survivor 64GB USB 3.0
Typical Price: $25
A USB key encased in extremely strong CNC-milled, anodized aircraft-grade aluminum. Several sizes available. Waterproof to 200 meters.
Fantastic and portable device for holding digital copies of your records, important photos, and more.
LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB Hard Drive
Typical Price: $110
Don't leave all your photos and documents behind! You can very easily take all of them with you on a small portable hard drive.
This 2 terabyte gives you quite a bit of storage, and puts it into a IPX7 waterproof and drop-proof enclosure. Connect directly to your computer and dump files on to it.
3-Ring Binder with Zipper
Typical Price: $17
We bought one of these and totally love it. Not only does it hold all our important documents in a 3 ring binder, it has tons of room for travel documents, pens, maps, and more.
The perfect way to keep your physical and digital documents all in one place, protected, and easy to transport.
Weatherproof Zipper File Bags
Not completely waterproof but very good protection against water damaging your documents. We think its a good idea to waterproof as much as you can, especially paperwork.
Paper + water = mushy sadness.