Hurricane Matthew has now turned out to sea. Not without leaving behind devastated landscapes, destruction of real estate and shattered lives. According to news reports 30+ individuals have lost their lives. Estimates of losses total in the billions of dollars. Emotional scars will be felt for years to come. The effects of Matthew are not just confined to the Atlantic Coast line. Extended family members through out the country and the world are undoubtedly affected, emotionally as well as financially and physically.
Most of those located along the East Coast gave heed to the warnings to evacuate with sufficient time to make proper preparations. Others considered themselves 'invincible' and would not leave.
I read an article entitled: North Carolina braces for more flooding in downstream towns, written by Jonathan Drew and Emery P. Dalesio, ct 11, 2016. Quoting from that article:
"Tens of thousands of people, some of them as much as 125 miles inland, have been warned to move to higher ground since the hurricane drenched the state with more than a foot of rain over the weekend during a run up the East Coast.
"An angry Governor Pat McCory asked people to stop ignoring evacuation orders and driving around barricades on flooded roads: 'That is unacceptable! You are not only putting your life in danger, you are putting emergency responders lives in jeopardy'.
Why is it that we think we know better?
Why Do We Think We Are INVINCIBLE?
Quoting again from the Article:
"Ada Page, 74, spent two nights sleeping in a hard plastic folding chair at a shelter put together hastily... She complained she didn't even have her childrens' telephone numbers with her. 'I left at home all my clothes, everything. The only thing I have is this child, my eight year old granddaughter who I take care of, and what I was driving'."
Knowing that hurricane Matthew was classified as one of the most potentially devastating in the past 10 years, why don't people give heed to the warnings. For Ada and many others, part, if not all their physical possessions have been destroyed. Will she be able to recover emotionally as well as physically? Hopefully she will, but it may take years.
After the Emergency – What Then?
Week after week we view the national news seeing one natural disaster after another. Today Haiti, Cuba, Burmuda Islands, and the east coast of Florida and the Carolinas face Hurricane Mitchell which is one of the strongest in 10 years. Governors and federal officials have issued evacuation notices and states of emergency. Yet some individuals think they are invincible. They think they can out last the storm. Others slip into utter panic, grabbing whatever they can, packing what ever they can grab and pack it into their vehicle then "head for the hills." In both situations, lack of good judgement and proper preparation result in significant physical and mental suffering.
This scenario has been played out in flooding along the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. It has been played out in the tornados in Texas, Oklahoma, and the upper Midwest. Earthquakes in Oklahoma, California and miscellaneous locations throughout North and South America, repeat the same result. Devastating fires in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Colorado have completely destroyed homes and all their possessions accumulated over a lifetime. Precious mementos such as photos, family histories and collectibles have all been lost. Thousands of people affected by these disasters have no clue how or where to start putting their lives back together. Had they made some basic preparations, as has been continually been voiced through the media, FEMA, and other government and community organizations, many hours of emotional stress could have been eliminated or minimized.
What are you doing to prepare for the unexpected?
Do you have an emergency plan?
What will you take if you only had minutes to vacate?
Could you prove your losses to the insurance company or the ownership of your land, autos and other possessions?
What about having needed medications with you should you be forced from you home for days or weeks?
Where will you start? Do you have a plan for AFTER the Emergency?
A number of years ago we used to have a ‘round’ coin shaped object about the size of a silver dollar. On one side it had printed: “TuIt” on the other side it had “Do It Now”. We used to carry it in our pockets as a ‘reminder’ and also as an incentive to STOP PROCRASTINATING.
We have some dear friends who have been going through some very difficult times. This couple is approximately the same age as my wife and I – just a little younger. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer approximately 6 months ago. A month or so ago, they came to me seeking some information and help with organizing their various assets, documents, etc. by using our system and portfolio we had created entitled [ My Estate Portfolio ]. Unfortunately we both procrastinated several weeks trying to schedule a block of time to start. Interestingly, they had created a “Bucket List” of things they wanted to accomplish together before her life ended. The last item was a trip to see their children and friends, some of which lived in the mid-west. They made the trip. They said it was wonderful, however it had weakened her physical condition significantly. Upon arriving home she took a turn for the worse. The cancer had spread rapidly within the week resulting in only several days left. She passed away this morning.
Her husband is now left with trauma and stress of finding documents, filing legal papers, dealing with final arrangements, and worst of all facing the loneliness of losing his companion.
I have learned two lessons from this experience:
First, having a ‘bucket list’ is an excellent idea. Just don’t “procrastinate” getting them checked off the list. Second, procrastinating, both on my part and on theirs, has a significant impact on him and his family’s life. I also am sharing some guilt for failing to act sooner.
We do not realize how quickly our lives can change. When it suddenly does, it is too late. Our Motto certainly has applied here: “Proper Preparation Precedes – Peace of Mind”
Let us share with you My Estate Portfolio. We will be happy to give you a free “Round Tuit”
During the past several weeks we have been watching and listening to national news broadcasts updating the conditions of Wild Fires in the Western United States.
According to the US Forest Service as of August 16th, the Chelan, Washington fire had destroyed 50 homes.
In Oregon “about a dozen major fires have scorched some 470 square miles and left at least 1,000 residents under evacuation. In one of the fiercestfires, hundreds of people were ordered from home over the weekend in central Oregon, where a cluster of wildfires dubbed the Canyon Creek Complex destroyed 26 dwellings and continued to threaten hundreds of other structures.” [Reported by Steve Gorman of Reuters.]
If you received a knock on your door by an emergency officer requiring you vacate in 15 minutes, what would you assemble? Would you grab various items of little consequence? Would you have the presence of mind to secure important documents, photos, medical records, essential medications, and insurance policies? Would you spend the full 15 minutes trying to find these essentials?
With proper preparation and help from “My Estate Portfolio” you could “grab these essential documents and valuables in just seconds, leaving the remaining 14 minutes to gather other items needed such as food, clothing, bedding, and emergency supplies.
All too often I hear a friend or an acquaintance say, “I wish I had ….” or “If only I had….” None of us can be absolutely prepared for every event which might impact our lives. Too often, however, we really aren’t prepared for much of any type of disruption.
Last week my wife and I took a trip for a family event. It was some 300 miles away. Before leaving, I was impressed to check the tire pressure on our car, which I did. Everything looked okay, but the gage was showing a little low for each tire. Giving no further thought, the trip was made. However, upon leaving for our return home, the instrument panel light displayed low tire pressure. That wouldn’t have been much of problem, but it was raining hard. To be safe and ease my worries, we stopped at the first convenience store, I pressurized each tire to its proper level. HOWEVER, I suffered the inconvenience and discomfort of traveling the 300miles home in damp clothing
Isn’t it funny how after the disruption or tragedy we remember “if only I had …”
.How prepared are you for unexpected events?
A major disaster may not destroy your possessions or take away precious mementos, but the death of a loved one, a home fire or flood can cause just as much damage and loss as a major event. It only takes a few moments a day to start putting your documents, important papers, photos, and personal property in a safe and easily accessible place. Remember a few moments today may save hours of your tomorrows.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as we develop ideas and tools to help you meet your challenges.
I just finished reading several news reports describing the devastation incurred by two dozen families located 120 East of Seattle in the Wenatchee, Washington Area. Fire fighters thought they had these homes secured but “the wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited the brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control…” [AP posting see below]
Fire can be devastating and quickly destroy a life time of work.
“Tom Bryant surveyed the smoldering ruins of his home in the hills above Wenatchee and said he and his wife had to race out of the house at the last minute as the fire advanced Sunday night.
On Monday, he pointed to the Mustang sports car that was a burned wreck and to his BMW motorcycle that was destroyed in the garage.
‘It’s going to be tough to replace .. It hurts, but it’s only stuff. It’s painful.’ He was unable to save photographs and important documents. Bryant said ‘That’s where all our stuff is’ pointing to a burned file cabinet”
-Nicholas Geranios & Donna Blankinship, AP
Read the entire article: http://a.msn.com/01/en-us/AAchQcS?ocid=se
I think of the vast amount of pain and devastation which has left this community realing from the Unexpected. This is only one incident illustrating where the lives of thousands are left homeless. Many are desperately trying to put their lives back together. The majority are trying to do so from memory because most or all of their documents and personal items were lost or destroyed.
No one ever thinks that a calamity with befall them. That is good --- from the perspective that we all need to be positive, particularly where we are daily bombarded with negativism. None of us can be absolutely prepared for every event which might impact our lives, but too often we really aren’t prepared for much of any type of disruption.
A major disaster may not destroy your possessions or take away precious mementos, but the death of a loved one, a home fire, a flood or an accident can cause just as much damage as a major event.
It only takes a few moments a day to start putting your documents, important papers, photos and personal property in a safe but easily accessible place. A few moments today may save many hours and days of painful tomorrows.
My Estate Portfolio is the answer to helping you organize, prepare and store documents, photos and personal information. At a moment’s notice you can preserve valuable information which will be required for putting your life or a loved one’s live back together.
This system is designed to help you organize all your important personal and family documents, papers, and files, which are critical in case of an emergency or a death.
We have created an easily identifiable package which consists of an attractive, useful binder with tabbed dividers identifying important sections categorized with blank forms for filling in important data, a 4gb Flash Drive containing the blank forms for duplication and updating your information, plastic protector sheets, and an expandable file folder for storing your legal documents.
Tabbed sections are organized into the following:
- Personal and Family Documents
- Medical Information
- Digital Data Records / Passwords
- Wills, Trusts, and Final Instructions
- Personal Financial Documents
- Insurance Information and Policies
- Real Estate
- Investment Summaries
- Business Interests
- Personal Property
- Miscellaneous Documents
Why is this Portfolio Important to You
First, in the event of a natural disaster or some other situation where you must leave you home almost immediately without the assurance that you would return to find everything in tact, what would be the most important things you could gather quickly. This scenario has been played out numerous times within the recent past. Floods like those in North Dakota, Minnesota, and along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Hurricanes in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas have left many homeless, some of which had no identification, insurance information, or medical records which were needed to put their lives back together. Tornados have ravaged entire communities in Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Fires in Southern California, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana have also driven residents from their homes, not knowing if there would be anything remaining when they returned.
Should any of these situations occur in the middle of the night, would you have the presence of mind to collect all the important files, documents and papers to keep your life intact.
Secondly, in the event of the death of a household member, the surviving spouse/partner, will spend many hours and days searching for information, documentation, files, wills, deeds, bank account numbers, and insurance information. It is not uncommon for surviving children to spend weeks sifting through paperwork looking for legal papers to assist them in closing an estate.
Occasionally a loved one must be placed in assisted living care, particularly when dementia or Alzheimer’s affects their ability to remember and reason. Having the documents and legal papers located in one convenient place will save hours of searching and frustration.
If you want to save yourself many agonizing hours of frustration, this portfolio will help you organize and gain peace of mind. Remember: Proper Preparation Precedes – Peace of Mind
- Most comprehensive resource currently on the market
- Organized in such a manner to allow you flexibility and yet comprehensive data
- Compact assembly of your documents and data which is easily located in one place.
- Online web site provides informative articles, suggestions, ideas, for preparing for events of the future.
- Periodic updates of forms and new ideas for storing personal data.