As Hurricane Irene approaches, here's a helpful reminder: Your household's hurricane preparation kit should include key financial forms such as tax documents, benefits files and bank account information.
The American Institute of CPAs, which has a large office in Durham, has posted disaster tips compiled with the American Red Cross at its financial literacy site here.
Here are some of the documents you should have in your disaster preparation kit. While some of this may seem like overkill, these forms can be critical if your home is destroyed:
Federal and state tax returns (if you have room, store all of your returns here, but if not, at least keep the three most recent ones in the kit)
Copies of important medical information, including your health insurance card, doctor’s name and phone number, immunization records, and prescriptions (including prescriptions for glasses and contacts)
Home improvement records
Inventory of possessions
Warranties and receipts for major purchases
Appraisals of jewelry, collectibles, artwork, and other valuable items
Retirement account records
Recent checking, savings, and investment account statements
Rental agreement/lease and/or mortgage documents
Recent pay stubs and employee benefits information
List of emergency contacts, including doctors, financial advisers, and family members
Backups of critical digital information, such as any accounting files