Have you put an estate plan in place? If so, congratulations on taking this important step. A strong estate plan can help accomplish and protect your goals for the future. You may have a will, powers of attorney, a living will, and a health care surrogate among your estate planning documents. Each serves a unique and significant purpose. Now that you have them, however, where do you keep them? A seemingly simple question, the answer may prove more complicated than you may have considered at first.
What Should I Do with My Original Estate Planning Documents?
You may have a number of options you are considering for storing your original estate planning documents. Perhaps, a safety deposit box? After all, safety deposit boxes are often home to important documents and estate plans are important documents. The problem with safety deposit boxes, however, is that, while they may be secure, they are not accessible outside of you, the authorized user. Should your estate planning documents need to be accessed, it is most likely that you will be unavailable as the situation may be that you have passed away or become incapacitated. Should you pass away with estate planning documents in your safe deposit box, your personal representative or other trusted individual will likely need to wait on a court to order authorization in order to access the safety deposit box. By the time this, happens, however, probate may have already progressed to the point where it is too late to use the documents.
You may want to keep the estate planning documents close, such as at your home. This can be a good option should certain things be taken into considerations. For instance, with Florida being so vulnerable to the elements, such as hurricanes and flooding, you will want to keep your documents in a place out of harm’s way. Consider keeping them in an elevated location and within a storage container that is both waterproof and fireproof to help ensure preservation throughout natural disasters, fires, and pipe bursts, among other things that may befall them.
Once you have selected a safe location for your original estate planning documents, make sure that you are not the only one who knows where they are. Access to the documents can be just as important if not more important than efforts to secure them. Without access, the documents can be rendered useless. Consider telling several trusted individuals where you are storing your documents. It would be a good idea to tell the person you have selected as your personal representative for your estate and agents you have selected in your powers of attorneys as well as your selected health care surrogate where such documents can be located if and when they are needed.
Estate Planning Attorney
For estate planning questions you have and for estate planning questions you may never have known you have, Verras Law is here with answers for you. Contact Verras Law today.