Tips for Protecting Your Estate Planning Documents from Potential Disasters
As part of your plans to prepare for potential disasters that tend to hit Florida, such as hurricanes, tropical storms, floods and tornadoes, you should make sure all your important documents are kept in a secure location. This will ensure that all your documents will remain secure and undamaged, and that your estate administrator and loved ones will be able to access them if needed.
The following are some ideas of places where you can keep important physical documents to protect them from disasters:
- Safe deposit box: If you wish, you can go to your local bank or credit union and rent a safe deposit box for a small fee. These boxes are extremely secure and built to withstand disasters themselves, while also providing safeguards against intruders. The downside of safe deposit boxes is that they can be difficult to access if the bank is closed or you need to access your documents frequently.
- Fireproof safe at home: Any safe you use to secure belongings in your home should be fireproof, lockable and light enough that you can carry it if needed. These safes are an ideal place for keeping original estate planning documents, along with other important documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports and certain account documents. The downside of a home safe is that it can be stolen.
- Attorney’s office: Attorneys may be willing to keep a set of original documents at their office. You may also provide them with information on how to access your safe deposit box or home safe, if applicable.
- Friend or relative: You may keep some documents (or copies of documents) with a friend or relative who lives out of town. This person would not likely be affected by any disasters that would hit your home.
- Digital storage: Storing scanned files on your computer or in cloud storage can make it easier to access your documents as soon as you need them. Be sure to save both physical and digital versions of your estate planning documents, just in case. However, be sue that you have protected and preserved your original will. Probating a copy of a will is often not possible.
To learn more about how you can best establish and protect your estate planning documents, speak with a knowledgeable lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law, Tampa, Florida.