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  • Writer's pictureRuth-Ann E. Toups

How Should I Store my Estate Planning Documents?

Do you know where your estate planning documents are? Does your executor, trustee, and/or power of attorney know where your estate planning documents are? Could they access them in an emergency? When it comes to estate planning documents, originals are important. So, what’s the best way to store your documents? We recommend a fire-proof and water-proof box stored in a location where key people can access it when needed. If you choose to store your documents in a safe at home, please remember that the people you have named in your documents need to be able to access that safe without you.

Many clients are tempted to store their documents in a safe-deposit box. Safe-deposit boxes can be very problematic. First, there can be tremendous barriers to access if your chosen executor, trustee, or power of attorney (or even their successors) are not also named on the box. In those cases, we have to spend time and money getting a court order to access the box. Second, even if the right person can gain access to the box, they are still limited by bank hours. The key person may not be able to access the documents at the key time. For those reasons, we do not recommend storing your documents in a safe-deposit box.

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