As an estate planning attorney, I am often asked by clients where their original estate planning documents should be kept. Estate planning documents can include your original will, power of attorney, trust, or advance health care directive.
- Safe Deposit Box: I do not recommend storing your estate planning documents in your bank’s safe deposit box because many people forget to name another individual as a signer on their safe deposit box. So, if you are the only one who signed the lease and you become incapacitated or die, no one else will be able to open your box without a court order, which is expensive and time consuming.
- Home safe: A home safe is a good place to store your original estate planning documents so long as it is fire-proof and waterproof. Additionally, make the key or combination accessible should you become incapacitated or die.
Regardless of where you decide to store your original estate planning documents, make sure a trusted individual or your estate planning attorney know where to find them. If the original cannot be found, it may be legally presumed that you destroyed the original with the intent that it is no longer valid.