A common question I hear from my clients is: “where should I keep my estate planning documents?” Often, the first thought people a have is to put important documents in safe deposit box. Makes sense, right? Wrong! Unless there is a co-owner on the safe deposit box, no one will be able to gain access to the box or its contents without your permission or court order, and the documents that may provide that permission are in the box! As such, I always advise my clients to not keep their documents in a safe deposit box.
So what other options do you have for safekeeping these documents?
As having the original documents is of utmost importance, it is imperative that the documents are kept in a safe place, but are also accessible. Often, my clients choose to keep the originals at my office with copies at home in a filing cabinet or desk drawer with the location of the original documents noted.
Many times clients will also consider keeping their estate planning documents in a safe, but that presents many of the same problems of keeping the documents in a safe deposit box.
Regardless of whether you choose to keep your estate planning documents at your lawyer’s office or at home, it is imperative that your family knows the location of the documents and how to access them quickly and without delay when they are needed.