If you live in the State of Florida, or own a vacation home here, you know how important it is to prepare for hurricane season. Hurricane season began June 1st and runs through November 30th, with the peak occurring mid-August through late October. To help keep you, your family, and your assets safe during hurricane season, the estate planning attorneys at Kulas & Crawford have prepared the following tips:
- Have a plan in place. The most important thing you can do to prepare for a hurricane is exactly that – prepare! Have a plan in place and make sure your family and loved ones know what that plan is. If there is a significant weather event, or an evacuation order is issued, make sure everyone knows how they will communicate with each other. Choose an out of town friend or relative as a point of contact and pick a meeting point in case you cannot return home.
- Be financially prepared. An emergency savings account, along with insurance will help you to recover from a disaster more quickly. In addition, if a tropical storm or hurricane warning is issued, make sure you have cash on hand because if your area loses electricity, the banks will be closed and the ATM machines won’t be working.
- Make use of technology. Download the FEMA App which contains important information on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Use the App to receive weather alerts from NOAA’s National Weather Service, including lifesaving safety tips, and other disaster resources. In addition, social media can be used to report in with friends and family after a hurricane.
- Stock up supplies. Consider the specific needs of your family and individuals in it to ensure you have the right supplies for the first 10 days following a disaster as they may have to shelter in place at home. Consider including the following:
- Store a gallon of water for each person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
- Gather a 10-day supply of non-perishable foods for each person in the household paying particular attention to family members with special diets and allergies.
- Have enough hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, hygienic products, diapers and wipes available.
- Make sure to have adequate food and water for your pet. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with updated identification tags with the pet’s name, owner’s name, address, and phone number.
- Have a favorite toy, stuffed animal, books and activities for the younger members of the family.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with you at all times.
- Have batteries of various sizes on hand for flashlights and radios.
- A portable generator, along with fuel or propane to run it, can make life much easier if you lose electricity for a significant period of time.
- Keep important documents up to date and safe. In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, you may need important documents in order to apply for assistance, file claims with insurance, or access financial accounts. Purchase a portable, fire-proof and waterproof safe that can be evacuated with you, should the need occur, and keep an original copy of the following documents inside:
- Birth certificates for all family members
- Marriage certificate
- Social security cards
- Health insurance cards
- Last Will and Testament
- Insurance policies
- Power of attorney
- Living Will
- Trust agreement
- List of contact numbers for family, friends, and business
- Stay informed. Although a hurricane can be devastating if it hits, the good news is that anyone in its path does have time to react before it hits. Pay attention during hurricane season. Check the National Hurricane Center on a regular basis. They provide up to date information on all tropical cyclone activity that could be headed toward Florida.
Contact Estate Planning Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have questions or concerns about estate planning, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment.