Weathering the Storm: How Families Can Plan for Natural Disasters Estate Planning

The recent wind-driven wildfires in our area serve as a daunting reminder of the importance of proper planning in the event of a natural disaster. Planning for natural disasters is more than just stocking up on canned food and water. Although food and water will keep you alive, how will you rebuild your life if your home and community are devastated? Here are some simple tips that will help you get back on your feet should disaster strike.

Make sure you have enough insurance. Although basic homeowner’s insurance typically cover damage caused by fire, wind, and most wind-driven rain damage, it won’t cover damage caused by earthquakes. Consider purchasing additional insurance through the California Earthquake Authority to cover earthquake damage. If you’d like an objective review of the types and amounts of insurance you have, contact us, we can help.

Keep a thorough inventory of what you own. Having up to date information on your personal belongings—especially valuables—will make getting them replaced using your insurance claim easier. Pictures of your belongings stored digitally in the cloud is one great way to handle this in advance of any natural disasters.
Create a financial plan. Natural disasters can be financially disastrous as well. You may not be able to return to work and could face the expense of repairing—or rebuilding—your home.
Plan well to ensure you can meet your expenses and make a financial recovery. Account for your insurance deductibles, which can be 10-20% (or more!) of the total damages and have six month’s salary in savings to cover any gaps in your ability to earn an income.

Protect important information by making digital and hard copies. Put a copy in a fireproof/waterproof safe and give copies to friends or family that reside outside of your area for safekeeping.

Follow standard safety recommendations. Keep enough non-perishable food and water for your family for 3-5 days. Consider investing in a generator. Build a first-aid kit, and learn CPR as a family.

Keep a comprehensive emergency kit with contact information, survival tools, and a change of clothes for your family members. Designate a meeting place all family members can get to in case your home is wiped out. And talk with your family about what to do in different scenarios.

Families who have someone watching out for them can recover more quickly from natural disasters. Working with us can ensure you have someone waiting to assist you when you face tragedy. As an attorney dedicated to serving clients for life, we can help you with the legal, financial, and insurance issues you face after a natural disaster.

This article is a service of Law Offices of David F. Calkins. We ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. Our practice areas include comprehensive Trust and Estate Planning, Insurance Claim Guidance, and Personal Injury Litigation.