Congratulations - you have an estate plan! Now it's time to turn your attention to ensuring that these important documents are safe and that they can be located when they are needed. Here are some tips on how to accomplish both of these important tasks.
If you have become incapacitated or pass away and no one knows where your estate planning documents are, all of your efforts in planning will be rendered useless. Unnecessary confusion and expenses will be sure to result if your documents can't be found. For your heirs to know how to follow your wishes, they have to first be able to find those directives.
All too often, important estate planning documents are lost or accidentally destroyed.
Recently, LifeHealth Pro offered some suggestions regarding how to make sure your estate plan documents are safe in an article titled "5 Tips for keeping original paperwork of key estate planning documents."
The LifeHealth Pro tips include:
- Make sure the original documents are easy to find. This means that, at a minimum, someone else knows where you have them stored.
- Make copies. If for some reason the originals cannot be found, the copies will alert people that the originals exist so they can look for them. However, be sure to destroy the copies if you change your estate plan. Otherwise, this can lead to needless confusion.
- Use a safety deposit box to store the originals and make sure that the box can be easily accessed after you pass away. If you have a trusted executor, you might want to consider putting the executor's name on the safety deposit box.
- If you have a living will, it is a good idea to indicate in that document that you have a will and who the executor is so he or she can be notified.
These tips are just the starting point. Your estate planning attorney will have other recommendations for your unique circumstances.