Disaster Legal Help Victoria

Being legally prepared

It’s important to be legally prepared to work through the aftermath of a disaster. Check your insurance is up to date and has the right cover and be ready to lodge a claim soon after the event. Prepare a kit of important documents, including a description of your home and a list of valuable belongings, that you can store electronically or easily take with you if you need to leave.

Creating a documents kit

It is recommended that you prepare a documents kit. This kit should contain items of value, important documents and personal information that you will need if you have to leave your home or property.

Make sure you pre-pack everything that you want to take with you. There may not be time to locate and pack valuables, important documents and other items if you need to leave very quickly in the event of a disaster.

Sometimes people misplace or lose track of important documents. House and land titles, Wills, birth certificates and other documents are often stored for many years. It might take you some time to find the originals and get copies. It helps to locate and store these documents early.

Storing your documents kit

Store copies of your important documents in a plastic folder and/or scan them and store them electronically. Electronic copies of your important documents can be stored on the cloud, for example in an email to yourself. This will prevent you from losing access to the documents if you lose your device.

Creating an inventory of your property

It is recommended that you also prepare an inventory of your property to help with any future insurance claims. An inventory should include the description and value of your property.

You can also take photographs of your property to better document items and their condition.

Checklist of important information you may need

This checklist should help you think about the kind of documents you need to copy and store:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Drivers licence
  • Marriage certificate
  • Will
  • Powers of attorney papers
  • Land and/or house title or certificate
  • Mortgage papers
  • Rental/leasing documents for home or business rentals
  • Current insurance policies and contact details
  • Centrelink paperwork
  • Rates notices
  • Superannuation and investment details
  • Employment contract (workers)
  • Important business papers (small business)
  • Tax file number
  • Medicare number
  • Health insurance fund number
  • Bank account and credit card numbers.

Finding original documents

Land and house titles or certificates can sometimes be difficult to locate. For information about how to find out who holds the title and/or mortgage to your land, see Replacing lost or destroyed title documents.

For more information about Wills, including missing Wills, see Wills and estates.

Further information

The Victorian Government and the Country Fire Authority are encouraging all Victorians who live or holiday near bush, grassland or coastal areas to prepare a bushfire survival plan.

For further information about preparing for the bushfire season, go to the Country Fire Authority website.

 

Reviewed 01 December 2021