Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Don't Be the Victim of a Disaster

 Don't Be the Victim of a Disaster
 In our practice of assisting people who have experienced a disaster with tax issues, financial, physical and emotional recovery, we call our clients just that: “people who have experienced a disaster.” We purposefully do not use the “V-----” word when referring to people who have experienced a disaster. Using the “V” word is apt to make them “a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency.” This definition of the word victim suggests that the person is helpless, without resources to recover or control of their environment.

As one who has “experienced a disaster,” you have been involved in a tragic situation and may be traumatized. You are called upon to use all of your energy and resilience to assist yourself in your recovery.

Our hope for you as you read the numerous entries in this blog is that you will find information that is helpful in that process. In my personal experience of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake I quickly realized that I had to take charge of my own recovery. I educated myself and listened. I acted in small steps and when I needed to I brought into my network others who had also experienced the disaster. Together, we accomplished what everyone said was impossible. We had a successful recovery and we provided assistance to thousands of others in their recovery process.

If you think you are a “V” you place yourself on a stretcher waiting for someone to come by and assist you. Believe me, there is always someone else who needs help before you. Only by taking your recovery into your own hand will you be successful. Yes, finding others to provide assistance and expertise is important; but again, you have to take the steps to build that team.

Yes there are truly victims in many disasters. The 250,000 people who died in the Haitian Earthquake were victims. The people who are still displaced in Haiti, years after the earthquake are victims. But, if you walked away from you damaged home in an earthquake, a fire, a hurricane, if your family is together, if your biggest aggravation is fighting with an insurance company over your damage and coverage, you need your resilience, you don’t have time to be a victim!
We wish you the best in your recovery process. We are available to assist you through the complexities of the tax implications of the recovery process.
This first entry in this blog, April 2008 has been revised in April 2013.

This blog, “” has been addressing taxpayer income tax issues related to catastrophic losses for five years
All rights to reproduce or quote any part of the chapter in any other publication are reserved by the author. Republication rights limited by the publisher of the book in which this chapter appears also apply.


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This material was contributed by John Trapani. A Certified Public Accountant who has assisted taxpayers since 1976, in analyzing and reporting transactions of the type covered in this material.  
© 2013, John Trapani, CPA,

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