This is the tenth and final blog in our Estate Planning Considerations series. In the previous blog, we explored important factors to consider when selecting a guardian for your children. In this blog, we will address various options for storing your estate planning documents. After executing your estate planning documents, it is crucial to consider the safekeeping of your documents. These documents hold significant importance and should be protected to ensure their accessibility and integrity when needed.
Safe Deposit Box
A safe deposit box offered by a reputable bank or financial institution is a popular choice for securing important documents. These boxes are stored in highly secure vaults with advanced security measures, protecting your estate planning documents from theft, fire, and other potential hazards. However, keep in mind that accessing the documents may require additional steps, such as presenting proof of identity and sometimes being limited to specific hours of operation.
Home Safe or Fireproof Box
Having a fireproof home safe or lockable box specifically designated for your estate planning documents provides convenient access and immediate availability. Look for safes or boxes designed to withstand high temperatures and protect contents from fire and water damage. Ensure that a trusted family member or executor knows the location and has access to the safe or box in case of an emergency.
Trusted Advisor or Attorney
Another option is to entrust your estate planning documents to your trusted advisor or estate planning attorney. They should have the expertise to securely store and manage important legal documents. By keeping your documents with a professional, you benefit from their knowledge of legal requirements, record-keeping practices, and their ability to assist in the administration of your estate when the time comes.
In today's digital age, utilizing electronic storage options can provide convenience and accessibility. Scan your estate planning documents and store them securely on a password-protected external hard drive, encrypted USB device, or in a reputable cloud storage service. Ensure that you choose a reliable and secure platform with robust data protection measures to safeguard your sensitive information. It is essential to back up your digital files regularly and provide access instructions to your trusted family member or executor.
Copies to Trusted Individuals
While storing the original documents in a secure location is important, it is also wise to provide copies to trusted individuals. Share copies of your estate planning documents with your designated executor, trusted family members, or key individuals involved in the administration of your estate. Communicate the location of the original documents and any passwords or access codes necessary to retrieve digital copies. This redundancy helps ensure that your documents can be accessed promptly when needed.
Review and Update Regularly
Regardless of the storage option you choose, it is crucial to regularly review and update your estate planning documents. Life events, changes in laws, or modifications to your wishes may necessitate revisions to your estate plan. Set a reminder to review your documents at least once a year and make any necessary updates. This proactive approach ensures that your estate plan remains accurate and aligns with your current intentions.
Choosing the right storage option for your estate planning documents is a critical step in safeguarding your wishes and ensuring a smooth execution of your estate plan. Whether you opt for a safe deposit box, home safe, trusted advisor, digital storage, or providing copies to trusted individuals, it is essential to prioritize accessibility, security, and regular review.
We hope that this Estate Planning Considerations series has provided you with valuable guidance and points of discussion when evaluating your estate plan. By addressing these important considerations, you have taken significant steps to protect your loved ones and secure your legacy. Please do not hesitate to contact Provident Legal Counsel should you have any questions or estate planning needs.
Contact Provident Legal Counsel today to discuss your estate plan. Schedule a Consultation or call (214) 432-6100.