Speak with a Licensed Insurance Agent

Search
Close this search box.

How to Store Your Estate Planning Documents

Summary: It is important to store your estate planning documents in a well-protected environment. If these documents become lost, stollen, or damaged at any point without a backup copy to replace them, it will be extremely difficult for your loved ones to settle your estate once you have passed. Estimated Read Time: 4 min

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Table of Contents:

  1. Which Estate Planning Documents Should You Keep?
  2. Where to Store Your Estate Planning Documents
  3. Storing Estate Planning Documents at Home
  4. Storing Estate Planning Documents in Safety Deposit Boxes
  5. Storing Estate planning Documents Online
  6. What Happens if Your Estate Planning Documents Are Destroyed or Misplaced?

Once you have situated your estate, storing your documents in a safe location is detrimental to ensuring your wishes are carried out exactly as they should be. The last thing you want is for your documents to be lost or destroyed during the process of executing your estate.

To reduce the chances of having your documents lost, stollen, or damaged, there are some preventative measures you can take. Below, we review the various ways you can help ensure your estate planning documents are safe and protected.

Which Estate Planning Documents Should You Keep?

During the estate planning process, you will receive a large number of important documents that should be kept safe at all times. These documents hold the keys to your estate and ensure all the hard work you put into planning can come into fruition once the time comes.

Before you store away your documents for safe keeping, you should create a copy of each document and store them with either your lawyer, or a trusted friend or family member who can provide backups in the event your copy is lost or stollen.

There are several documents you should account for when estate planning. Some of the most popular include:

  • Last will and testament
  • Revocable living trust
  • Advance healthcare directive
  • Insurance policies
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Power of attorney
  • Funeral instructions
  • Titles and property deeds
  • Proof of identity documents
  • Digital logins and passwords
  • Financial information

Having these documents in an easily accessible location will help speed up the process of settling your estate.

Where to Store Your Estate Planning Documents

Storing your estate planning documents in a protected location is essential. When considering the best place to store your documents, you should consider accessibility after you pass and location. Both of these elements are important as you will need your estate planning documents to be easily accessible but also properly stored.

There are several places you can store your estate planning documents that can make it easy for individuals to access them when the time comes. The three most popular locations to store your documents include:

  • Your home
  • A safety deposit box at your bank
  • Online

Storing Estate Planning Documents at Home

The easiest and most convenient place to store your estate planning documents is in the comfort of your own home. However, when storing your documents at home, it is important to store them in a safe, dry area that is easily accessible for individuals to access after you have passed.

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Many individuals who store their documents at home will purchase a flood and fire-resistant lock box or safe to store these documents and other sensitive items they may possess.

An in-home safe or lock box are relatively inexpensive to purchase and are much more secure than your documents drawer in the kitchen or the shelf above your closet.

Having a safe in your home allows you to have a semi-permanent structure that is difficult to move or break into and can withstand a flood or fire without damaging its contents.

Storing Estate Planning Documents in Safety Deposit Boxes

Safety deposit boxes are a well-protected option when it comes to storing your estate planning documents. Safety deposit boxes are fire-proof metal containers that require you and a banker to access. However, if you decide to go this route, you will need to notify the bank of whom should have access to the key to your box.

Generally, the bank will only allow you to access your box. So, you’ll need to provide the bank with the information of the person who should be able to open the box on your behalf.

In some cases, however, the bank my “freeze” your assets once you have passed. To get around this, your loved ones will need to go through probate court to gain access to your documents which could severely delay the timeline in which your estate is settled.

So, while this is a secure option for storing your documents, it can come with associated risks.

Storing Estate planning Documents Online

This generation is no stranger to technology. Currently, most estate planning documents can be drawn up and signed online, so it makes sense to store the documents online as well.

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Storing your documents online will allow anyone to access them at any time, from any corner of the globe, as long as they know where to go and how to get through the security measures in place to keep them protected.

Storing digital copies of your estate planning documents on a hard drive, USB, or cloud system is as easy as scanning the documents and uploading. However, there are always some security risks when utilizing online storage.

Cloud storage systems such as iCloud, DocuBank, OneDrive, and Dropbox are popular among Apple and Microsoft users who have documents that need storing and capabilities to be shared with others. However, the security of these cloud storage systems are no stranger to threat.

If you do decide to keep an electronic version of your documents, it may also be a good idea to keep a physical copy handy as well.

What Happens if Your Estate Planning Documents Are Destroyed or Misplaced?

If your estate planning documents are lost or destroyed when it comes time to settle your estate, your loved ones may need to jump through extra hoops to ensure your wishes are properly carried out.

Because of this, it is extremely important that you secure your estate planning documents in a place that is safe and easily accessible for your loved ones.

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare guru serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Medicare Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X