This time of year often brings the impulse to clean and purge, and many in Texas and beyond will empty closets, attics and garages to rid themselves of clutter. However, when cleaning out the drawers of the desks, they may run across their estate planning documents, papers much too important to be stashed in a drawer and forgotten. Instead, many advisors have certain recommendations for how to keep those documents safe and accessible.
Having a will, trust or other estate planning tools may prove worthless if loved ones cannot locate them when the time comes. That is why one may lock them away for safe keeping but make sure their family knows where and how to get to them. Some recommended places to store one’s estate planning documents include the following:
- A rented safe deposit box at a local bank or credit union, but the box must have a joint owner who can access the contents without a court order
- A waterproof, fireproof safe in one’s home, entrusting the combination to a chosen individual
- The home of one’s designated executor, trustee or administrator, or this person may at least keep a copy of the documents
Another wise move is to leave a copy of one’s estate planning documents in the safe hands of an attorney. With this added security, new copies can be produced if the originals become lost or destroyed. If no one can find the estate planning documents of a deceased loved one, the court will assume the person died intestate, meaning with no estate plan in place. This may result in the settlement of one’s estate that does not fulfill the wishes of the deceased.