I was recently reading a story online regarding the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster. It told of an Irish couple Seamus and Carol Moore who ultimately escaped, but thinking they were not going to make it they called a friend from the sinking ship to among other things let him know where their Will was located.
While having sound documents is important, the wonderful plan you created is of no use if no one can find it. Judging from the inquiries I often see it is not uncommon for people to pass without having informed anyone of the location of their estate planning documents or the attorney who prepared them. It is important that your estate plan as well as other vital legal documents such as deeds and life insurance policies be stored in a safe and secure place, preferably a fire proof safe. I am often asked about safe deposit boxes at banks. I generally discourage the use of a safe deposit box for storing estate planning documents as they often require a court order to get into following the owner’s death.
Wherever you decide to store the documents here are a couple of tips to remember:
1. Let your attorney and family know where they are located; and
2. Let your attorney and family know where the combination and/or key are located.
As part of our goal of continuing client care Members of our Trust Maintenance Program are entitled to store electronic copies of legal and financial documents in our secure online storage vault that can be accessed twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. While this does not replace the need to retain and properly store the original documents it provides a way to have ready access to the documents and to allow others of your choosing access as well.
Do you know where your Will is? Does anyone else?