With the recent wildfires in Sonoma County this month, it brought to light what type of important papers should you grab when evacuating?


Hi there, Bridget Mackay here. I’m an attorney in Petaluma, California. I work in estate planning and elder law.

And in Petaluma, we are in Sonoma County which was the center of some very severe fires, wildfires last month. Which brought to mind a lot of issues for folks not only losing everything, their house and everything. But, a lot of people were evacuated. And, what to bring when you evacuate was a hot topic around here. Not to make a pun out of it.

As I thought about it, and as it relates to your important papers. So, we all kind of understand what most of our important papers are… marriage licenses, birth certificates, passports. Some of us don’t even think about our state plan as one of those important papers. But they are. And many attorneys, myself included, are now digitizing your trust, wills, powers of attorney, health care directives, deeds. So, you know, a lot of the solution is, or at least a lot of my clients who were involved in the fires didn’t necessarily have to grab their original documents or the big binder that they got from us when they completed their estate plans. They could just grab the USB card that had all of the digital versions of their originals on it.

So, my advice to those who are planning in the future, if there is some kind of catastrophe like we just experienced. Whether it be an earthquake, hurricane or wildfires is to convert those documents. Scanned them and digitize them into PDF’s and save them on a USB. Or, better yet in the cloud. So you’re not even hunting for your USB when you’re having to flee your home. You know that your documents are safe and on the cloud.

So, if you find yourself thinking about preparing for a disaster. Keep in mind that’s a way to preserve those important documents that will surely be needed on the other end.

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