Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger - RE/MAX Executive Realty



Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 1/20/2021

In a not-so-distant future, American homeowners may not have to worry about blackouts any longer. Teslaís giant battery recently powered up Australiaís grid after a power outage in just milliseconds. And, with new, green technologies, constantly being pursued, it could be within reach to say goodbye to blackouts once and for all.

However, weíre not quite there yet. And, if you live in the colder areas of the country, youíre also at the beginning of the worst season for snow and ice that can wreak havoc on power lines.

So, to help get you prepared, Iíve written this list of things you can do to start preparing yourself, your family, and your home for your next power outage.

Read on for the list.

1. Emergency supplies list

Itís vital to have the supplies on hand before a power outage hits so that you donít have to be wandering around your home in the dark fishing for things you might not even have.

To avoid this, itís a good idea to keep a supplies bag packed and tucked away somewhere safe. Itís also important that your family knows where this bag is located in case youíre away when the power goes out.

Now, letís make your list:

  • Flashlights and batteries - Two quality flashlights with batteries should be on everyoneís emergency list. Make sure your batteries were recently bought and that they are of high quality that wonít run out of juice in just a few minutes. Also, consider including a wind-up flashlight that doesnít require batteries for use in case you forget to replace your old batteries.

  • Radio - Most of us keep our cell phones charged up, but weíve all been guilty of letting them get too low on charge. In these situations, itís good to have a battery-powered radio to listen to the news.

  • Power bank - Speaking of cell phones and their poor battery life, consider buying a power bank and keeping an extra charging cord in your bag. Make a note to charge up your power bank every few weeks to ensure it will be charged when you need it most.

  • Cash - If the blackout effects more than just your neighborhood, many storesí ATM and credit card machines may be down. Itís a good idea to have a stash of cash for emergencies.

  • Optional: generator - while you donít need to buy a generator for your average power outage, it can help if you live in an area that experiences them frequently.

2. Familiarize yourself with your home

Find out where the shutoff valves for water are, learn the layout of your circuit breaker, and learn how to use the manual release on your garage door.

If you have an electric stove, consider purchasing and learning how to use a small propane grill for emergencies.

3. Best practices during a blackout

If you have children, make sure they know what to do if the power goes out when youíre not home. Especially during the winter months, it gets dark out early enough that many parents havenít even arrived home from work yet. So, be sure your kids know not to start lighting candles in dangerous places and keeping the refrigerator open for extended periods.

Finally, itís a good idea to turn off power strips and unplug appliances that were turned on when the power went out. This can stop surges from damaging your appliances and save you money.




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Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 1/22/2012

Preparing a will is probably one of the most important things on the to do list but often it gets overlooked. There are many ways you can create a will; from inexpensive software packages to hiring an attorney. No matter how it is prepared, it is money well spent. There are many things to consider when creating a will. According to Caring.com, here are the key points you should consider. 1. Name a personal representative or executor. In an individual will, your parent can name a person or institution to act as personal representative, called an executor in some states, who will be responsible for making sure that the will is carried out as written and that the property is divvied up and distributed as directed. It's also wise to name an alternate in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to act. 2. Name beneficiaries to get specific property. Your parent's will can specify separate gifts of property -- called specific bequests -- including cash, personal property, or real estate. Likely beneficiaries for such bequests are children and other relatives, but they may also include friends, business associates, charities, or other organizations. 3. Specify alternate beneficiaries. In fashioning their wills, most people assume that the beneficiaries they name will survive to take the property they've specified for them. The most thoughtful wills provide for what should happen if those beneficiaries don't survive -- either by naming a backup recipient or indicating that the person's spouse or children should take the property instead. 4. Name someone to take all remaining property. If your parent has opted to make specific bequests of property, a will is also the place to name people or organizations to take whatever property is left over. This property is usually called a "residuary estate." 5. Give directions on dividing personal assests. If your parent wants assets divided among children, charities, or other beneficiaries, the will should note precisely what property is included in that pool. It should also specify whether assets are to go directly to beneficiaries or whether they're to be sold and the value divided among the beneficiaries, either equally or according to stated percentages. 6. Give directions for allocating business assests. Business assets are often separate from personal assets -- and most business owners have very specific ideas about what should be done with them after their deaths. If your parents don't have a written plan covering the windup of their business, encourage them to see an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that their wishes are clearly indicated in each of their wills. 7. Specify how debts, expenses, and taxes should be paid. The will should spell out your parent's wishes regarding how to settle debts and final expenses, such as funeral and probate costs, as well as any estate and inheritance taxes. Usually a specific source, such as a bank account, will be tagged to cover these costs. 8. Cancel debts others owe. A nice added touch is that people making wills can use the documents to relieve those who owed them money from the responsibility of paying that debt -- along with any interest that accumulated on it -- to them or their survivors. 9. Indicate special instructions for maintaining real estate. If your parents name someone to keep their house, they should list any specific instructions for its care and upkeep in each will. 10. Provide a caretaker for pets. Since the law considers pets to be property, the best way for your parents to assure a good home for theirs is to leave the animal to someone named in each will who has agreed to give it a good home. Many people also leave that person an amount of money to help cover the caretaking expenses.