Where To Keep Important Estate Documents For Your Loved Ones

Creating an estate plan is an act of love for the ones you will leave behind, and much of what comes out of the planning is meant to make things easier on them. The time after a death can be a confusing and stressful time, with loved ones having to cope with arrangements on top of legal and financial matters. To help ease the confusion, take some time to make it clear how and where your loved ones can access important documents. Read on for some tips on doing just that.

Home Office

It's only natural for important documents to be located in your home. It's a convenient and inexpensive place to keep your will, trusts, and other plans. You probably already have a desk and perhaps some filing drawers, and those places might be perfect for estate documents, too. In most cases, it's the first place your loved ones will look when they get ready to handle your affairs. Also, the home office is where most bills and other important information is located, so it allows you to have everything important in a single place. Some precautions are in order if you decide to use your desk or filing cabinet for your estate documents, though. Be sure that the items are protected against hazards like fire or theft by using a lockbox that is fire- and water-safe. If you use a locked safe, be sure at least one loved one knows how to get into it.

Safe at the Bank

The next most obvious place for estate documents is a bank box or bank safe deposit box. These boxes provide a safe and weatherproof spot to keep anything important. Safe deposit boxes, however, may not be as easily accessible as the home office. A key is needed and you usually have to designate someone to enter the box. Boxes come in all sizes, and you can use the box to store whatever you wish – jewelry, cash, precious metals, coins, and estate documents. This way of keeping documents may not be as convenient for your loved ones, however. Banks are not always open, so access may be limited on weekends and holidays. Be sure you keep copies of some documents at home and provide a loved one with access to the box.

Contact the Probate or Estate Attorney

In most cases, your attorney will keep copies of the estate documents that can be accessed by your loved ones. Just like with the bank, however, access will be limited to business hours. While the reading of the will can wait, funeral plans may be part of the estate plan, and locating those papers might need to take a priority. The best way to handle this issue is to let your loved ones in on the location of your important papers and make sure they know where to find what they need to administer your estate. To get more advice on estate plan documents and where to keep them, speak to a probate lawyer.

For more information, contact a probate law office.