After years of delaying the decision of who to appoint as your children’s guardian, or how to distribute your vast wealth to them so they become productive citizens rather than privileged trust babies, you’ve worked with your attorney to develop an estate plan. Now you have a set of documents that tie up all of the loose ends in the event of your demise. Before you file your new documents away in your desk along with previous years’ tax returns, you might consider whether that is the best place to keep the things that determine how and to whom your money and children are distributed. In addition, you’ll need to think about which documents should be given to another person and who that person or persons should be.
Your original documents should be stored in a fire proof storage unit, such as a safe or a locking file cabinet, in your home. If your attorney regularly stores estate planning documents for his or her clients, you can store them in the attorney’s office. However, be sure that you’ve advised family members or someone close to you of where the documents are stored. In the past, many people kept these documents in a safe deposit box; however, because of the legal process that must be undertaken to remove documents from a safe deposit box after death, it’s generally thought that the documents should be kept elsewhere.
When deciding who to give copies of your documents, consider the following:
Even if you decide not to give copies of your documents to anyone, be sure to let someone you trust know where they are. These documents, on which your attorney has worked so hard, can only provide direction as to your wishes if they can be located when they are needed.
Related Services: Estate Planning
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