Plan to protect your financial information during hurricane season

Posted by Kerry Hunter on May 27, 2021 1:00:00 PM
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Hurricane preparedness is on everyone’s mind this time of year, and with good reason. Being near the water makes Englewood particularly vulnerable. I’m sure most residents understand hurricane preparedness when it comes to protecting themselves and their loved ones in terms of shelter, safety and supplies. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the National Hurricane Center have posted some important operational guidelines.

While personal safety should remain your number one priority, don’t neglect your finances. Here are some tips on ways you can protect important financial information in the event of a disaster:

  1. Securely store your original estate-planning documents, including your will. If stored at home, place the papers in a fire- and water-proof safe, but make sure to share the combination with someone you know and trust. If you use a bank’s safe deposit box, consider putting the box in the name of your trust, so your successor trustee will have access in case something happens to you. Let your successors know when you store the originals.
  2. Arrange to receive alerts when your debit or credit cards is used. This can protect your accounts from fraud.
  3. Create strong passwords and secure them. Always use a combination of letters, numbers, symbols and capital letters, and be sure to change your passwords often.
  4. Make sure you have an adequate number of healthcare surrogates listed in your healthcare directives, and confirm that they all have the ability and interest to serve you. If out of state, can they afford to travel to care for you? Remember to share a copy of the healthcare directives document with your named surrogates, and be sure you review your documents with a trust officer or your attorney.
  5. If you’re leaving town. carry your Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will and Designation of Heath Care Surrogates with you when traveling. Should something happen, you will be prepared, which can remove unneeded stress from you and your loved ones.
  6. Pull your credit report to be sure no one is using your credit. You can get free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022, from the three national credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To get your free reports, go to Annual Credit Report. We recommend you rotate among the agencies to be sure your report is accurate. Each company is slightly different in what they report.
  7. Make sure your assets titled properly to ensure your estate plans are carried out. It is important that your beneficiary designations match your wishes. We find that many estate plans fail due to incorrect titling and beneficiary listings. Review your estate plans with a careful emphasis on your asset titles and beneficiary designations. (At Englewood Bank & Trust, we offer complimentary reviews with a trust officer to be sure your plan will work as you intended.)
  8. Select a true fiduciary to manage your investment accounts. A fiduciary is legally and ethically bound to act in your best interests and is regulated and examined by the FDIC and FDFS, not FINRA. (Our trust officers must act in your best interest.)
  9. Check your local property appraiser to secure the title of your home. Titles and deeds are public records and available from the Property Appraiser in the county where your home is located.

At Englewood Bank & Trust, our trust clients can take advantage of a team of experts, regulated and examined policies and processes, secured systems, dual control of assets, decisions by experienced committees, and professional investment management. Our team can store your original documents in our trust vault, provided you name the bank as trustee. Englewood Bank & Trust is backed by the strength of a strong, family-owned-and-operated financial corporation.

For additional information, contact Kerry Hunter at 941-473-3629 or khunter@ebtfl.com.

Investments are not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, the bank, are not FDIC insured, not insured by any federal government agency, and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal.

Posted by Kerry Hunter

An experienced member of the Trust and Investment Management Team at Englewood Bank & Trust, Kerry is responsible for developing new client relationships, assisting those with Living Trusts, IRA Rollovers, Investment Management Services and Charitable Giving Strategies. Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Graduate of Florida Bankers Association’s Trust & Wealth Management School. Graduate of Leadership Englewood. Has held Life, Health, and Variable Annuity Licenses in Florida. Kerry served as Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager for a Sarasota bank from 2003 to 2006, then joined Englewood Bank & Trust as a Retail Banking Officer at the bank’s Boca Grande office. Well known for her active, volunteer spirit, Kerry served as Treasurer and two-term President of the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce, and Treasurer of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce. She has chaired the Boca Grande Chamber’s Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament, the Boca Grande Christmas Walk, and the Englewood Bank & Trust United Way Committee. Contact: 941-473-3629 khunter@ebtfl.com