Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Monday, June 28, 2021

Where Should You Keep Your Original Estate Planning Documents?

Estate planning can be so much more about a will, although a will can be important. A will can not only detail how you wish your property to be distributed upon your death, but it can also do things such as name the personal representative of your estate as well as an alternate should your first choice be unable to serve for one reason or another and you can also name a guardian of your children should you have any minor children at the time of your passing. A strong, comprehensive estate plan will also, however, have other critical legal tools such as a durable power of attorney which can grant authority to a trusted agent to manage your affairs should you be incapacitated and otherwise unable to conduct such affairs for yourself. There may also be a living will and health care surrogate in your comprehensive estate plan which will outline important terminal health care preference and appoint a trusted individual to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, respectively.

This is just a brief overview of what a solid estate plan may look like. These documents put critical protections in place and safeguard a future you want for yourself and your loved ones. If you have put an estate plan in place, you have taken an important step. Now the question becomes, where do you store these important documents?

Where Should You Keep Your Original Estate Planning Documents?

While a seemingly simple question, the answer may not come as quick as you thought it would. Do you have a place where you store important documents? The nature of estate planning documents is somewhat different from others as you may need to have access or have someone else have access to them quickly in the event of an emergency. If you fall ill or are injured and need your health care directives from your estate plan, you need someone to be able to find and access them quickly. Should you die, you need to have your will and other documents accessible to someone other than yourself to make sure your wishes are honored.

Keeping these things in mind, where you store your estate plan comes down to some central things. You need a place that is known and accessible to people you trust and may play an important role in your estate plan. You also need some place secure to store the documents.

To be accessible, you must consider whether the people that need access to the documents when the need arises will be able to do so. Some people think that a safe deposit is a good place to store documents. It is, of course, secure. There can be, however, accessibility issues. Should you die, another person may not have authorization to access the contents of your safety deposit box and he or she would need to get court permission to do so. This can cause serious delay and may even result in your will not being presented to the probate court in time.

You also need a place that is secure, both from unauthorized and untrustworthy parties and from environmental issues. A house fire or burst pipe could mean ruin for your original estate planning documents. Consider a waterproof, fireproof case to store these documents to protect against both.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Do you have more estate planning questions? Hyden, Miron & Foster has answers. Contact us today.

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