Creating an estate plan is a great accomplishment. Once you create your estate plan, you must store it in a safe place. Proper storage of estate planning documents ensures that they will be available to the people who need access to them at the times when such access is required. Whether your estate planning documents exist in the digital realm, on paper, or both, read on to learn more about keeping your estate planning documents safe and secure.
When you work with an estate planning attorney to create the various documents in your estate plan, they may offer to store those documents for you in their office vault or a fire safe storage cabinet in their office. Some law offices utilize off-site secure storage facilities for their clients’ documents or digital files. Whatever document storage method your attorney uses, be sure to learn what it is and how and when you or others authorized by you can access it.
If you choose to store your estate planning documents exclusively with your attorney, the materials will be safe from theft and from any prying eyes that might look for them at your house. Some people do choose to store original or copied estate planning documents themselves, either by choice or because their attorney does not offer document storage. A fireproof safe is the best place to store original documents. You may also keep a set of copies in a safe deposit box, but do not stow your originals there because the original documents provide the authority to access the box. Putting original documents in a safe deposit box will render them inaccessible to those who need access to them if you become incapacitated or die without giving anyone else besides yourself access to the safe deposit box.
Digital records of your estate planning documents should be stored on your attorney’s secure server. If you want to keep digital copies of your estate planning documents, make sure that you have adequate security on your computer and the server where the records are stored. Estate planning documents contain identifying information and highly personal information, and it is wise to guard against security breaches that could expose your data to identity thieves or nosy relatives.
When you choose how you will store and access your estate plan, be sure to make a plan to access it every few years, and review it with your attorney. Keeping your estate plan up to date is critical in ensuring that your wishes will be carried out when you pass away. Many people choose to set a reminder on their digital calendars or write it in their paper planning system so that they can be good stewards of the estate plan they worked so hard to create.
Secure storage of your estate planning documents protects your legacy and ensures that the people who need access to those documents can get it at the appropriate time. If you have questions about document storage or other matters related to estate planning, call Wichita attorney J. Joseph at (316) 265-7802, or contact us on the internet to schedule a consultation to discuss all of your Kansas estate planning questions.