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Have you created your estate plan? When did you last update it with your estate planning attorney? As someone who has created an estate plan you know that your estate planning documents are invaluable. For one thing, they ensure your family is taken care of after you die.  They also specify which medical treatments you would want if illness or injury prevents you from expressing your wishes.  

Given all of the above, where should you keep your estate planning documents? Let us go over a few things to consider in making this decision.

  1. You may want to ask the personal representative of your estate to keep them for you. If you are mulling over this option, be sure to verify that your personal representative has a secure place in which to store the documents.
  1. You can keep them in a home safe. Ensure it is fireproof and waterproof, though.
  1. Further, if you decide to keep the original estate planning documents at home, be sure to store them where they are least prone to flood damage.
  1. Keeping an original copy of your will or any other estate planning documents in a safe deposit box may not be as good of an idea as you think. There are two key reasons for this. First, the bank is not always open. Second, the owner is usually the only person who can access the contents without a court order. 
  1. Avoid hiding your estate planning documents in an unusual place, or a location known only to you. If you secret them away and do not tell anyone else, no one will know where to look for them after you die. 

There are two more points meriting careful consideration. The first is that it is important to ask your estate planning attorney for copies of relevant documents. You need to have access to your estate plan at all times, and using a copy when it is needed can help keep originals safe. Also, talk to your estate planning attorney. She can tell you where, in her experience, it is best to keep your estate plan in Florida.

The second is that your estate may not be settled as per your instructions without the original version of your estate plan. This is because the absence of your original documents may trigger a legal presumption that you never had any estate planning documents or you meant to destroy them. Once this presumption is triggered the probate court may have to follow applicable rules for the settlement of your estate. 

If you would like to discuss creating or reviewing an estate plan, or if you would like more information about where to store your paperwork, please call our law firm. We are happy to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.