You’ve done everything you were supposed to. You have been to see your estate planning attorney, you’ve signed a plan that reflects your wishes, and you’ve updated your beneficiaries on your accounts. You’re done, right?
When you pass away, your personal representative or trustee—the person you’ve appointed to handle your affairs—will need to access your documents so they can carry out your wishes. However, they’ll need to be able to find them first, and sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Some common places that our clients store their documents include a safety deposit box or a safe in their home. There are pros and cons for both of these options.
Safety deposit boxes are secure. The binder you received from Ambler | Keenan | Mitchell | Johnson may be too large for the box itself. Usually, clients take their documents out of the binder in order for them to fit—just make sure they don’t get jumbled!
In order to access a safety deposit box, a person must be named as a signer at the bank. If your personal representative or trustee is your child or a family friend, you may not have thought to make those arrangements. People who are not able to sign will not be able to get in and get you original documents, which your personal representative or trustee will need to administer your estate.
Some people prefer to use home safes, which also have benefits and drawbacks. If you have a safe, make sure that your personal representative or trustee knows how to access it. It won’t do you any good if they don’t have the combination to get in and use the documents you set up! A fireproof safe is a good investment, as well. Should something terrible happen with your home, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is setting up your estate plan all over again.
Once you know where you will store your documents to keep them safe, it’s important to fill out a copy of your location list. All clients of Ambler | Keenan | Mitchell | Johnson are given a location list—it is in a separate tab within your binder. It is also on our website, if you need another copy. On the location list, you can write out your personal information for bank accounts, online accounts, the names of your advisors, the location of real estate documents, etc. Because this document can contain sensitive information, however, it’s very important that you make sure you have a secure place to store it before you fill it out.
If you need any more information, please call your attorney at 303-407-1542 or contact us here.