Did you finally get around to making an estate plan? If so, congratulations are in order. You have taken an important step in securing your future wishes for you and your loved ones. Of course, making an estate plan is just the first step in what can sometimes be a long process. Those in the estate planning field recommend that you review it from time to time, and make changes when necessary. We also recommend keeping the relevant paperwork in a safe place. Just what does that mean? Keep reading to find out.
Most legal professionals in the estate planning field recommend keeping your original documents in a location where they are easily found, but unlikely to fall into the wrong hands or get damaged. This may include a fireproof and waterproof lockbox or an upper shelf in your home office. On the other hand, it is recommended that you avoid:
- Hiding your estate planning documents in an unusual place
- Keeping your paperwork in a safe deposit box at the bank unless there is a joint owner
- Storing your estate planning documents on a lower shelf or in a desk where a flood could damage them
If your loved ones cannot find your original estate planning documents, there still may be options. Although it is never in your best interest to not have your original documents at a time when you or your loved ones need them, all may not be lost. In an effort to ensure you always have what you need, and at the right time, talk to your experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can share options with you and give you advice on:
- Where to safely store documents
- Who should have access to them before they are needed
- What information should be shared with family and decision makers
- His or her own personal advice on how to best store different documents within your estate plan
Know now that it may be an entirely different story if no one can find the original documents or any copies when there are needed. In that case, there may be a legal presumption that you never had any estate planning documents or that you meant to destroy them. Ultimately, this could mean your estate is dealt with in accordance with applicable state laws, not per your wishes.
If you have any questions about establishing an estate plan or reviewing an estate plan already in place, please feel free to reach out to our office. We are happy to provide additional guidance on these important matters. Contact our office today to schedule a meeting.