Where Should You Keep Your Estate Planning Documents?
Great, you have an estate plan, but does anyone know where it is located? Do you know where the best place is to keep your estate planning documents?
Today, Corriveau Law is sharing:
- Safety Deposit Box – often times, people assume the best place to store a Will is in a safety deposit box. While a safety deposit box is a great place indeed, in many states, a court order will be needed to open the box should the box be in your sole name without having a joint owner assigned. If you should choose a safety deposit box, make sure your executor knows where it is located, and is granted the legal authority to gain access to it.
- Your Home – the most readily available spot to store your Will should you become disabled, or die, is to store it within your home. That said, a fire and/or waterproof safe would be an ideal location. As long as someone you know and trust has a copy of the key and/or lock combination.
- A Shelf, the Freezer, Under Your Mattress – whatever you do resist the urge to hide your Will! While a high shelf will protect from flooding, it is not however fire proof. If your Will is under your mattress or stored in your freezer will anyone be able to find it? If your Will can not be found while you are alive, will it be able to be found when you die?
- Your Estate Planning Attorney – yes, did you know your attorney’s office is actually the safest place to store your Will and estate planning documents. At a minimum, he or she should have copies of all signed documents and related paperwork. Then, should the originals be lost or ruined, a back up can easily be created from his or her copies. All documents stored with your attorney will remain confidential and secure. Again, if this is the storage method of your choosing, then be sure at a minimum your executor knows who your lawyer is and where he/she is located.
- Executor – another great option, is to store your Will and/ or estate planning documents with your executor. Chances are you have already spoken with him or her regarding your end of life desires, and he/she will need the most immediate access to these documents anyways.
- Probate Courts – in some instances probate courts will store the original for a fee, and although it is critical to have the original, it can also be saved on a hard drive. If that is done, one executor should know your user ID and passcode for ease of access when the time comes.
Regardless of where you choose to store your Will, you will want to store it in a safe, secure, and accessible location. Not being able to locate your Will and/or estate plans can be a real financial and emotional nightmare for your beneficiaries.
Save your family and loved ones the hassle of “searching” for all of your important documents – let’s discuss the best place for you to store your Will and estate planning documents.