Keeping Your Estate Planning Documents Safe
In many ways, your estate plan is a safety net that secures the future of your property and the wellbeing of your loved ones. After putting a great deal of thought and effort into creating and formalizing your documents, it’s critical these papers remain as safe as possible. The following are several tips for keeping your most essential documents protected:
- Make copies: It’s important to have at least two copies of each of your most important estate planning documents. Once the copies are made, keep each version in a separate location, so you have a backup in case one set becomes damaged. Making copies reduces the risk of losing the document’s contents if an original is destroyed or lost.
- Consider the bank: Most banks offer safe deposit boxes available for rent, and they tend to be extremely safe. When you use a safe deposit box, your paperwork will be stored in the bank’s vault. Never place the sole copy of your will inside a safe deposit box, however, as it may be difficult for others to access in the event of your passing. Instead, use the deposit box for paperwork related to your assets or taxes.
- Invest in a quality safe: A sturdy, fireproof safe is essential for keeping your documents protected at home. Inside your safe, you’ll want to keep a copy of your will, documents detailing your financial and medical power of attorney, trust documents, your living will and any documents pertaining to insurance policies.
- Check with your attorney: In most cases, your lawyer will hold on to the original copy of any estate planning documents he or she helps you create. It is wise for your attorneys to also keep copies or originals of your will, living will, trust contracts and burial instructions — in case these documents are needed on short notice.
Once your paperwork is secure, be sure to let a trusted family member or friend know how they can access your documents. For further guidance on these issues, work with a knowledgeable Tampa will and trust attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.