Business consultants call it the “clean desk policy”. By having all employees clear their desks at the end of each work day, including documents, notes, business cards, and flash drives, the organization reduces the risk of information theft, fraud, and security breaches.

The real benefit comes in the form of peace of mind.  According to one report, a typical 1,000 person corporation can lose millions of dollars each year from the inability to locate and retrieve information, PrivacySense.net asserts. “A clean and tidy workspace makes your organization look efficient and presentable to anyone who decides to visit, including the auditors!”

Here at Geyer & Associates, where our attorneys counsel and represent executors and personal representatives on the proper settlement of an estate, we try to minimize stress at an already difficult time. We know that nothing has the capacity to increase stress more than not being able to easily access a loved one’s estate planning documents just when they are needed
As important as it is to create estate planning documents, where you keep those documents is equally important.  No document, however expertly drafted, can fulfill its intended function if it’s missing. 
Not only must you ensure your family has clear instructions on where your original will, living trust and other estate planning documents are located, upon your death, they must be able to find the following:

  • life insurance policies
  • tax documents
  • bank, brokerage, and  retirement account  statements
  • credit card statements
  • stock certificates
  • keys to safety deposit boxes
  • passwords and user names for online accounts

But even before there is an “estate” in terms of passing on assets after a death, family members need to be able to find

  • living wills  or healthcare directives
  • long term care insurance policies
  • powers of attorney
  • health insurance cards
  • prescription information
  • names of physicians and specialists you see

In fact. you might consider currently providing copies of healthcare directives, health insurance cards, prescription information, and a list of your physicians to the people who are authorized to make decisions on your behalf.

The compassionate client care offered by the attorneys at Geyer Law includes helping answer the crucially important question:  Where should your original estate planning documents be stored?

In a safety deposit box at the bank or other financial institution? In a home safe?  At your estate planning attorney’s office?  In a secure online file?

Watch for more estate planning blog posts later this month, in which we examine the pros and cons of each of these options….

– By Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team