Where Should You Store Your Estate Planning Documents?

If you have a current will and other estate planning documents, where should those documents be stored?  If you do not store your estate planning documents with your attorney, it is important to keep these documents in a safe place.

Upon your death, a probate court will require the filing of an original copy of your will.  If an original copy cannot be located, there is a risk that your last wishes as outlined in your will may not be honored.  A fireproof safe or a fireproof cabinet in your home are great storage options.  Wherever you choose to store your estate planning documents, they should be accessible by loved ones in the event that you pass away.  Make sure to let your trusted family or friends know where your estate planning documents are located. 

A safe deposit box at a bank may not be the best storage option for your estate planning documents.  If you store your power of attorney or will in a safe deposit box at a bank, make sure that your loved ones are authorized to access the box.  If you do not authorize other individuals to access the contents of your safe deposit box, your bank may require your appointed agent or executor to get a court order just to access these documents.  By making sure your estate planning documents are easily accessible, your appointed agent and executor will be spared the hassle of seeking an additional court order just to gain access to your safe deposit box.  With your power of attorney and living will in hand, your appointed agent will have immediate ability to take control of your affairs when necessary without court intervention.  Additionally, your loved ones will be able to file an original copy of your will with the probate court easily and without delay.