by Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire

This week, the Governor issued a Shelter In Place Order for Mississippi.

As we take stock of supplies, food, and activities to keep us busy the next few weeks, I know many of you have legal questions regarding not only this crisis, but what you should do to prepare for the next crisis we may face, both as a state and personally.

Let  me touch on a few topics that this column will focus on the next few weeks, and give you some links for further resources.

· What documents do I need to make sure I have ready, in case of an emergency?

· What should I do to make sure that someone can handle my legal and financial affairs if I get sick and cannot handle them myself?

· How can I get this done during the shelter in place?

· What do I need to do to make sure someone can take care of my minor children in the event I can’t, due to my illness or other emergency situation?

·  How can I protect my business if I cannot be there to sign checks or paperwork due to illness?

The first topic will be today’s focus:

What documents do I need to make sure I have ready, in case of an emergency?  In other words….let’s get organized.

It’s a good idea to prepare an emergency kit containing photocopies of papers you’re likely to need to help you deal with a crisis. Records you might consider putting in that kit include:

· Birth, death, and marriage certificates

·  Adoption papers

· Photos or videos of possessions

· Military records

· Social Security cards

· Mortgage/property deeds

· Car titles

· Insurance policies

· Will, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives

Your kit should also include:

· List of emergency contacts, including family members and your Financial Advisor

· Important medical information, including copies of insurance cards, doctors’ names and phone numbers, prescriptions, and immunizations

· List of credit card and debit card numbers, including “800” contact numbers

· Book of blank checks

· Electronic backups of critical information

· Safe deposit box location, list of contents, and key

· Recent pay stubs and employee benefits information

· Retirement account records

· Home improvement records

· Recent tax returns

A copy of these items can be found at our law firm page,, as well as questionnaires for many of the above stated legal documents.  Just go to the Intake Forms and Estate Planning Guide section and you can download all of these documents, including the Organize Your Life Estate Planning Guide.