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How to keep your estate documents safe and accessible

Estate documents are essential to uphold your voice on important matters and your family’s future after you have passed on. These documents should stay safe and easily accessible to your family when you can no longer be there to guide them. There is no point in having an  estate plan if no one will be able to find it. Here is what you should know.

Make copies of your estate documents

Over the years it is easy for papers to slip into the trash or be forgotten in a dusty box; that is why you should give copies to involved parties. Photocopies are better than nothing for reference. When you are signing the estate plan with your lawyer then you might as well create a couple more official copies.

Give the copies to your spouse and family members who will take over a majority of the estate once you are gone. Most importantly your executor and lawyer should have a copy of your estate plan. They will be able to distribute copies to anyone in the family whom is involved in the estate and also will have the power to enforce your wishes.

Store the original copy in a safe yet accessible location

Many people store their estate plan in the safest place possible without realizing that others might have trouble accessing it in the future. Some possible places to store your estate plan are:

Safety deposit box: A safety deposit box is one of the more popular options for estate planning documents. Many people do not know that if the account is only under their name that no one will be able to access it after they pass on without a court order. Only store your estate documents in a shared account. Make sure that your spouse or a family member has access.

Locked safe: Another great place for your estate plan is a locked safe at home. Make sure the safe is both fire and water proof. It must be bolted to the ground or wall so that it cannot be stolen. If the box requires a lock combination then make sure to share that information with someone you trust.

If you have not yet created an estate plan then contact an attorney experienced in estate planning. They will be able to help guide you through the process and keep your documents safe.

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