As the Hurricane Bears Down, Being Prepared Brings Great Peace of Mind

Kristen Marks

by Kristen Marks

Kristen Marks is a travel enthusiast, empty-nest mom to two young adult children, athlete, attorney, author, speaker, proud wife of almost three decades (to the same wonderful man!), and the founder of My Pink Lawyer®, Florida Estate & Legacy Planning attorneys. Kristen has been crafting professional estate plans for Floridians and their families for over 28 years.

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"What are your evacuation plans, Mom?”

“We’ll head up to Tuscaloosa if we need to evacuate and visit you.”

“Wait, are you staying with me in my dorm?,” Jill asked, horror creeping into her voice.

“No, dear. We’ll stay with Uncle Jimmy.” Audible exhale on the other end of the phone.

“You sound pretty calm,” Jill replied.

“I am.”

“Mom, that’s weird. You stress about everything and but you’re not stressing about a Category 5 hurricane.”

“I do not stress about everything. Anyway, there’s no use worrying unnecessarily. If we end up needing to evacuate, we have a plan. We’re ready.”

That was the conversation my daughter and I had early last week.

Even though it didn’t look like Pensacola would be much affected by Hurricane Irma, I mentally reviewed my evacuation checklist of important papers.

Having lived here through Hurricanes Erin, Opal, Ivan, Dennis and Katrina, I feel fairly prepared with my organization of important papers.

Being prepared brings great peace of mind.

Of course our Estate Planning binder, which includes all of our original signed estate planning documents, would have a place of honor in our evacuating vehicle.

I’d also bring our important family documents such as social security cards, birth records, marriage certificates, death certificates, etc. I keep these in a fire proof safe that can easily evacuate with us.

I’d also grab our important financial papers such as our life insurance policies, recent financial account statements, insurance policies (especially for our home!), retirement accounts, investment accounts, and loans/debts.

The grab & go of these papers will be easy peasy because I personally organize our important financial papers in 3 ring binders at home.

One binder has information on all of our assets and financial accounts (such as deeds, current account statements, titles, etc.)

One binder is for insurance. I keep copies of all of our insurance policies in here: life, disability, property, windstorm, flood, etc.

One binder is for any debts and credit cards, etc. I keep loan papers and current copies of any bills in here.

One binder is for business related stuff (if you have corporations, LLC’s, etc.)

One binder is for other miscellaneous important information (pet records, frequent flyer numbers, etc.).

I actually now store most of our photos and online passwords in the cloud. Of course my address book and calendar is already stored in the cloud so that makes life easier when evacuating.

One day I’ll get my act together and scan all of these above documents into the cloud as well, but I’m not there yet. My binders will have to do when time comes.

Watching the Weather Channel as the storm ripped through the state, I remembered what a hopeless feeling it was to not know if you will have a home to return to.

We were lucky after Hurricane Ivan. We did still have our home though badly damaged.

Fishing after Hurricane Ivan.jpg

Andrew & kids after Hurricane Ivan. We don't need no stinking dock to fish!

We here are My Pink Lawyer® are keeping those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey in our thoughts and prayers.

Kristen “Now Always Prepared” Marks

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