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Do You Know Where Your Estate Documents Are?

Nearly half of all Americans have no estate plan at all, so you’re to be commended if you’re ahead of that curve. But once you’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the t’s, it’s time to make sure you’ve secured these documents so that you or a trusted advisor can access them in the event of an emergency. 

Your estate planning attorney might be able to help you store your documents, but have a conversation about this first to ensure you know what’s happening to your materials. Most law firms today use fireproof, locked file cabinets. Sometimes an offsite storage facility might also be used if your law firm is located in a big city.

Although most people still want their attorney to hold on to the original documents, this does not mean this is your only option. Some lawyers have turned to providing clients with the originals due to security or storage space concerns. Most people might consider a safe deposit box as the first place to put something like your powers of attorney and will, but the ability to get into such a box is limited. If something happens to you, another person will have to get court authority in order to access the box. And most likely your loved ones can’t get that court authority because the documents to show their rights are in the box.

A fireproof safe is a great way to protect your key documents and ensure that you know where they are at all times. The safe is the right place to keep the originals and you can store other copies elsewhere. Go back to review your documents on a regular basis and make sure to update any originals in the safe as well as where you’ve stored copies if you make big changes or replace a document entirely.

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