So, you have taken the important step of putting an estate plan in place. Congratulations! You have put solid protections in place for your future and that of your family. Now, the question becomes, where should you store these important documents? A seemingly easy question, where you store your estate planning documents can be very important, especially considering the sensitive nature of such documents. Here, we will delve into more detail as to what you should factor in when finding the right stop for your estate planning documents.
Where Should You Keep Your Estate Planning Documents?
Estate planning documents are important enough that you want them to keep safe, but only really work when they are accessible when you need them. So, where do you keep important documents that you must simultaneously safeguard and make accessible? There may be several options.
You may want to keep them at your home. Then, the documents would be close by. You may want to consider investing in a water proof and fireproof case to store the documents. This can protect the documents in the event of a house fire, flood, or even a burst pipe. Make sure that trusted individuals are notified of the location of your estate planning documents. It can be important for those you have elected to serve in roles such as a representative of your estate, your agent under a power of attorney, or your surrogate under a health care surrogate are aware of the location of these important documents.
Some people may think that a safety deposit box is a good location to store estate planning documents. While safety deposit boxes may be safe, as the name itself implies, placing your documents in a safety deposit box can present a whole host of issues regarding the ability to access them when needed. What if the person that needs to access the documents is not permitted access to your safety deposit box? Should your personal representative be unable to access your safety deposit box and your will is inside, a court order will be needed to be granted access to the contest of the safety deposit box. By the time access is granted, the probate process may have already begone and your will can be rendered completely ineffective.
In sum, be prepared to keep your original estate planning documents some place secure. Contain them in something that will help safeguard them from environmental hazards. Be sure to inform those you trust and have selected to take on roles of responsibility pursuant to your estate planning documents know where the documents can be found and are able to access the documents should the need arise.
Estate Planning Attorneys
Putting a strong estate plan in place should top your list of things to do. Do not delay in putting these important safeguards in place. For estate planning guidance you can count on, the dedicated team at Merlino & Gonzalez is here to serve you. Contact us today.