It’s a common storyline – an elderly parent suddenly goes to the hospital, and once the children learn about it, the search for related estate planning documents, like the Power of Attorney and Living Will, begins. To make it easy for your relatives to find these important documents, any probate lawyer will tell you that these papers should be kept in a fire and waterproof container. You should also let your fiduciaries know where these documents are located.
While many people think a bank safe deposit box is a good place to keep their estate planning documents, this is not necessarily true. Unless your relatives are named on the account, they may not be able to access the information in this safety deposit box. And even if you do have your relatives’ names listed on the account, emergencies don’t always happen during standard banking hours.
In addition to keeping your estate planning documents in a fire and waterproof container, you should also give certain documents to agencies or offices in advance. Our probate lawyers suggest providing your healthcare documents, like your living will and healthcare power of attorney, to every medical provider you see on a regular basis. You should also give copies of these documents to your adult children or whoever is appointed to serve as your agent.
Because your last will and testament is treated differently than your power of attorney, you can typically keep this document at home and not file it anywhere. However, you should still give a copy of your will to any fiduciary listed in this document.
If you have any questions about how and where to store any of your estate planning documents, contact your probate lawyer for additional information.