Dear Mr. Rawles:
It might prove worthwhile to put a copy of your latest property tax bill receipt as (proof of ownership of your retreat property) in your “Get Out of Dodge” (G.O.O.D.) ready kit. For example the county in which your retreat property is located might form road blocks to keep out the Golden Horde. If you are late getting out of town how is someone manning a rural roadblock, such as a deputy, to know that you are a tax paying member of the community and not just part of the Golden Horde? For that matter how are they to know that your cousin really does have permission to retreat with you? You can bet when TSHTF that few will take your word for it. Would you?
Many counties provide the tax information on-line, so even if you don’t have last year’s you can get it. All of the tax rural tax receipts I have only list the tax-key not an address which is why I favor them as a means to proving ownership. if you have the address on yours you may want to white it out and then recopy it for OPSEC. Between the tax receipt and you driver’s license you should be able to distinguish yourself from a member of the Golden Horde.
Even if all the members of your retreat party have the same last name you will want to have separate “Retreat Permission Affidavits” especially if you are not all getting out of Dodge together. The basic idea is to have a notarized document which states that the author is the owner of the property (tax receipt attached), and that such and such person has permission from the owner of the property to reside at the property, you might want to include a description of the person who has permission (think: no computerized identification checks), and would the reader of the “Retreat Permission Affidavit” kindly assist the bearer in continuing on their way. At a minimum one set of permissions would be necessary for every vehicle in your convoy, whether or not the property owner is in your convoy.
There is nothing that says you have to have a legal-looking notarized document, but there would be no “rule of law” at TEOTWAWKI, so if you are going to have a prop, it should be the most convincing prop you can get. I know that some states allow excessive charges for notary services, in Wisconsin, for example, the limit per notorial act is fifty cents. At that rate there is no reason not to have a professional attest that the author of the Retreat Permission Affidavit is indeed the owner of the retreat. If the fee is an issue in your area, you might consider asking an attorney to notarize the documents when you are having one do other work for you such as drafting a will. If you are an existing, active client many attorneys will not charge for notary services.
JWR Replies: One step better is to have your G.O.O.D. vehicle registered (or dual-registered) in the county where you have your retreat. Especially in states that have county tag number prefixes or the county names imprinted on their license plates, it will make it very simple for folks manning checkpoints to sort the “sheep from the goats”, and send you safely on your way.