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What legal docs do you carry in the RV?

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Curious as to what FT'ers actually have found necessary to carry with you?  And do you carry any originals?  Or are they copies?  Are there docs you only have scanned copies of?  I'm thinking maybe pertinent medical records only need to be scanned?  We expect to have some things in a storage unit in the Tyler, TX area that my son who lives in Hawkins will have access to.  Deciding what needs to go where.  

A--Vehicle titles?  

B--Birth certificates?   Social Security cards?    

C--Marriage?   Divorce documents?

Have I missed anything?

 

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We keep irreplaceable and hard to replace documents in a safe deposit box that our two daughters can access, with notarized copies onboard. The more easily replaced documents that we might need readily at hand are scanned for quick access and stored in a fire and water resistant safe onboard. All of our important documents are scanned, encrypted, and stored online on our personal cloud server for remote access.

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3 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

We keep irreplaceable and hard to replace documents in a safe deposit box that our two daughters can access, with notarized copies onboard. The more easily replaced documents that we might need readily at hand are scanned for quick access and stored in a fire and water resistant safe onboard.

We do pretty much the same but at first, carried a lot in the supposed fireproof box, but then realized that the box isn't fireproof but has a time/temperature rating that is far from really fireproof. I would add wills, power of attorney, passports, vehicle registrations, insurance policies, medical information/ directives, DD214, and any other legal documents. We carry certified copies of most of them today. We carried current copies of our medical records with us at first, but never once was a doctor we visited on the road interested in seeing most of them so we cut back to only carrying our latest physical reports and medication lists as well as the doctors we see with contact information. 

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Kirk, I know you've seen how fast RV's burn in a fire, so I feel pretty confident that our UL-350 1-hour rated safe will survive one. A fire would have to burn at 1700+ degrees F for more than an hour to raise the internal temperature of the safe above 350 degrees. Paper ignites at about 450 degrees. In addition, our document safe is located at floor level at the rear of our gasser, about as far as it can get from  the most common fire sources.

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I am a full timer so I have to carry most of my legal docs in my RV. I have the titles to all my vehicles, my passport, social security card and birth certificate, all in the tiny safe. I also have my living trust, and my brother has a copy to the trust at his house.  All my banking is online so I don’t have any bank info other than the checkbook in the safe. I have my last 4 years tax returns as well. My insurance policies too. 

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A friend had an in-the-floor safe and had a fire.  He opened the safe and nothing but ash.

We kept everything in a go-to-bag (briefcase - easy to grab).  When we slept it was by the exit window.  While we drove or if we stayed at camp it was by the front door.  When we left for the day or to have maintenance done, it went in the car.

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7 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

A friend had an in-the-floor safe and had a fire.  He opened the safe and nothing but ash.

We kept everything in a go-to-bag (briefcase - easy to grab).  When we slept it was by the exit window.  While we drove or if we stayed at camp it was by the front door.  When we left for the day or to have maintenance done, it went in the car.

Was it at least a UL-350 fire rated safe?

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5 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Was it at least a UL-350 fire rated safe?

I have no idea.  It was a safe that the manufacturer installed.

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14 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

A friend had an in-the-floor safe and had a fire.  He opened the safe and nothing but ash.

We kept everything in a go-to-bag (briefcase - easy to grab).  When we slept it was by the exit window.  While we drove or if we stayed at camp it was by the front door.  When we left for the day or to have maintenance done, it went in the car.

Great idea. A bug out bag. I used to have one in my house. I think I will put together one for the RV. Thanks for the idea. 

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1 hour ago, 2gypsies said:

I have no idea.  It was a safe that the manufacturer installed.

As we all know, RV manufacturers are not well known for spending more money on a feature than necessary. There are lots of safes around that offer little fire and water protection but are good at preventing theft. I spec'd ours specifically with fire and water protection as the most likely need. A UL-350 30-minute rated safe would be the bare minimum for that purpose. If you have any data storage media to protect such as CD's, DVD's, memory sticks/cards, hard drives, etc., a UL-125 30-minute safe would be the minimum.

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14 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

We kept everything in a go-to-bag (briefcase - easy to grab).  When we slept it was by the exit window.  While we drove or if we stayed at camp it was by the front door.  When we left for the day or to have maintenance done, it went in the car.

x2 except ours was a backpack with extra meds, copies of prescriptions, computer backups, and other things we deemed necessary in it. too.

Linda

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I’m not being sarcastic or confrontational, just inquisitive, there isn’t a document that can’t be replaced (albeit with some serious “footwork”) so I carry everything with us. Some of it is just in a file box, others i.e. passports, social security cards, cash are in two different safes/lock boxes. The only thing I see of importance is safe guarding the cash in my mind. That can’t be replaced. The other items can be via mail or internet. Please school me where my thought process is incorrect. 

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2 hours ago, Rickl said:

The other items can be via mail or internet. Please school me where my thought process is incorrect. 

Perhaps not impossible, but many things could be extremely difficult and time-consuming. My wife once had her purse stolen and believe me it isn't as easy as it may sound. 

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7 hours ago, Rickl said:

I’m not being sarcastic or confrontational, just inquisitive, there isn’t a document that can’t be replaced (albeit with some serious “footwork”) so I carry everything with us. Some of it is just in a file box, others i.e. passports, social security cards, cash are in two different safes/lock boxes. The only thing I see of importance is safe guarding the cash in my mind. That can’t be replaced. The other items can be via mail or internet. Please school me where my thought process is incorrect. 

I'm with Kirk. I was born outside the USA. I have to send to the US Secretary of State to get a certified copy of my birth certificate. I cannot get a passport without that certificate. I guess you could call that "serious footwork" but it's sure something I'd prefer not to have to do again.

Linda

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Lost my wallet in the river a number of years ago (80’s) and at that time I carried my Social Security card too. While it was a pain back then I had my drivers license, social security card, credit cards all replaced within a week. The only thing I couldn’t replace was the cash. About $400 so I think there’s a sturgeon in the upper Mississippi swimming around with some cash. 

Yes I didn’t lose my birth certificate but I had misplaced that after using it for employment in the early 80’s and when I went to get a passport in the 90’s I just called the county, had to have a form notarized and then submit it (with payment of course) and received a certified copy of the birth certificate within 3 weeks or so. Based on other things I have done the process isn’t all that bad. 

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I had my passport stolen some years ago while in the Czech Republic.  Had to get it replaced at the US Embassy in Prague.  The consular officer told me to make a color photo copy and carry it with me in a separate piece of luggage; in case of a loss it would have been trivial for them to replace it.  Today I have copies of all my critical files stored in an encrypted.ZIP file on OneDrive in the cloud.

My point is, pretty much EVERYTHING can be replaced if need be.  Carry the original with you in the RV in a safe, but make sure you’v made digital copies of everything, encrypt them, and store them online.  Even if someone steals the file, a good, strong password will protect them.

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19 hours ago, sandsys said:

I'm with Kirk. I was born outside the USA. I have to send to the US Secretary of State to get a certified copy of my birth certificate. I cannot get a passport without that certificate. I guess you could call that "serious footwork" but it's sure something I'd prefer not to have to do again.

Linda

A slight tangent from the original discussion, but can’t you renew your passport using your previous passport (IOW, only the first one needs your birth certificate)?  I know my oldest daughter was born while I was stationed overseas, and due to a technicality she couldn’t get her US citizenship.  I eventually got her citizenship sorted out - it was a PITA - and for her first passport it was a pain, but after that they accepted her previous passport as proof of citizenship.

Edited by Jim1521

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Vehicle titles are only needed when you go to sell, and in most states, are easy to get replaced.  When have you needed any of the other documents?  I can't recall the last time I needed paper anything other than an ID.  I scan copies of everything and discard the paper.

 

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Medical Insurance, SS Card, debit and credit cards in wallet. Proof of insurance and copy of RV and truck titles in truck. Passports in briefcase also in truck.

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Interesting discussion for me as I’m madly working at selling the house and going full-time.

Today I happened to read an article in Truck Camper magazine where the author was in an accident that totaled his truck and damaged (but not totaled) the camper.

One of the items the author happened to have with him was the title and that sped up the insurance process (signing the truck over to them before they pay you). He went on to discuss the reasons why it is foolish to carry them (someone who steals the rig now can fake a transfer), and suggested leaving the originals with a relative who could send them to you quickly.

It gave me something to think about.

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We had a non-RV vehicle totaled three years ago, and they asked for a power of attorney in place of the title.  They emailed it to us, we had it notarized, done.

 

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My 750lb fire "proof" gun safe is bolted to the floor in my sister's house. The really important things are in there and I carry copies in the trailer. Like it's been said, replacing a birth certificate is a simple phone call, get a form and send it back (for most people). DL is gonna make me drive home, credit card (singular) is a phone call to the credit union. The prescription list is on my phone and online at Baylor's MyChart website. None of them are so crucial that I can't wait one day for Cigna to ship me some more. Car titles are easily replaced too, just in case my sister's house burns down, floods or gets blown away with Dorothy and Toto. What else is there? 

I have been on call 24/7 for the last God knows how many years. I've carried my cell phone and a gun all that time. There is a jumpsuit, boots, and a shoulder holster along with some necessary tools in the car. I refuse to spend my retirement doing it with silly papers.  I'm not carrying a case with me to the bathroom so I can rescue replaceable documents in case Godzilla attacks the campground. My dogs are at home too. Maybe I can train them to grab my birth certificate before the trailer gets stepped on by a fictional monster being pursued by the Japanese army who cant manage to speak words that match the movement of their mouths (or maybe it's just my television) ? :)

To me, the idea of a bag/case full of papers that I take to bed, to the car and everywhere else is ludicrous.  What if I want to go for a walk or grill outside, do I bring it along? If the trailer catches fire while I am at home, there are more important things to get out than papers. If it happens while I am gone, the loss of my precious friends will haunt me long after every document mentioned in this thread has been replaced.

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Last week I photo documented all the "add-on" upgrades to my insured vehicles.  Solar panels, auxiliary braking system,  SuperHitch, SuperTruss, etc. etc.  Easily $5,000 or more in non-stock upgrades.

Packaged the digital photos in a zip file and uploaded them to my Google cloud space.
Once and done - just in case.


 

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