Document Checklist

Having your key documents available in multiple formats can be one of the most critical aspects of your doomsday preparations. The first part of this is determining what documents you need to have and the second is making sure they are available to you in case of an emergency. To do this, you will create a document kit that contains all of your critical information.

The documents you want to have are, simply enough, the documents that define your life. Your identification documents, insurance documents, property titles and any other critical documents that you would be lost without. A list of the documents you will want follows:

Drivers Licenses/Social Security Cards/Military ID/etc.

Birth and Marriage Certificates (also Death Certificates and Divorce documents if relevant)

Passports

Insurance ID Cards

Property/Vehicle Titles

List of Bank/Savings/Retirement Account Numbers

Important Legal Documents such as Wills

Medical Records

Home inventories

Family Pictures (this last is mainly important to you but can be used as ID if searching for a lost loved one)

Anything else specific to you and your life…think about it to make sure you don’t forget something critical.

Now that you have a list of documents, you need to put them in a safe place. A waterproof, fireproof document safe like this SentrySafe[link] is perfect for this. For the documents that you carry on you everyday, you should make copies of the document (front and back) and store that in your document kit.

Now for a recommendation that is not one that will work for everybody. This is purely a matter of personal preference but I do this myself and there are pretty strong arguments to suggest you do the same. Scan all of your personal documents and upload them to Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive, Box.com or something similar. Security is critical here so use whatever techniques you want to use to insure the safety of your information. My recommendation is to create a separate Google account that you do NOT use for your primary email and turn on 2-step authentication [link] for maximum security. I’ll do a separate article on this at some point but the point is to create a safe place that you can use to upload your information and access it from any place in the world where you can get online access. I realize that not all doomsday scenarios will make sense for this, but not all doomsday scenarios will require a driver’s license either.

Once you’ve scanned the documents, take an extra step and store them on a flash drive and put that someplace safe in a different location from your document safe.

Please consider security at all points especially with your scanned copies. The idea is to be prepared so that you are not a victim, not to make it easier for the identity thieves.

Once you’ve gone through this process, you likely have all of your most critical documents available to you in multiple formats. In a large number of doomsday scenarios, this might be the difference between just surviving and thriving.