You’ve finally signed your estate planning documents, Christine Fletcher writes in Forbes, but where do you keep them, she asks?
With this month the 25th anniversary of National Safety Month, it’s a good time to make sure you and your family stay safe, but also to consider protecting the safety of your important documents. “Safety is all about continuous improvement,” the National Safety Council proclaims.
Where you store estate planning documents is critical, John Egan of Experian stresses, because you want it to be easy for someone to find them after you die. Potential places, Egan says, include:
- Fireproof and waterproof safe at home
- Safe deposit box at a bank (Not so good – the bank might require a court order too to pen the box)
- USB drive or external hard drive stores in a safe location
- Online document storage service (Egan suggests Dropbox, Google Drive,and Microsoft OneDrive as possible cloud-based repositories)
“Renting a bank safe-deposit box can help secure important personal documents, collectibles, and family heirlooms,” says Paul Bomberger of bankrate.com, “but it’s important to make wise decisions about what goes in the box and to stipulate who has access to it.”
Certainly items such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance policies, property deeds, stock and bond certificates, and even jewelry can be kept safe in the box, but items that should definitely be left out include cash (it won’t be insured by FDIC) and estate planning documents. After a box holder dies, the only people who have access are co-renters of the box, trustees and executors. That access, however, may not be granted immediately.
For all those reasons, at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, we keep documents for our clients, retaining the originals in a fireproof area, with electronic copies that are backed up every fifteen minutes.
After all, safety comes first – for your family as well as for your estate planning documents!
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer bog team