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Where to store estate planning documents

Texas residents who have established estate planning documents such as a will, trusts or power of attorney should be sure that these documents are easy to find and accessible. Even if someone has a complete set of estate planning documents, it will do their friends and family little good if they cannot locate or access them. However, unlike many other important documents, wills should not be copied. There should only be one copy of a will, which is the original, because duplicates can lead to problems. If there is a copy, it is recommended that the testator, or the person who’s will it is, write the location of the original on the copied document.

Safe deposit boxes are often the safest and most recommended place to store a will and other estate planning documents. They keep paperwork safe from fire, theft and most other natural disasters. While it is obviously important to let someone’s heirs know that their documents are in a safe deposit box, they also need to ensure that a trusted individual has access to the box.

In addition to providing a key to the selected individual, it is generally a good idea to also ensure that the person in question has been granted access to the box by the bank that holds the safe deposit box. This can help prevent giving someone access to a box after someone has already passed on.

Estate planning documents determine not only who receives an individual’s assets but also how they are cared for when they cannot make these choices. A lawyer could explain what estate planning documents do and draw them up for someone.

Source: Your Glen Rose Texas, “LIFE CARE PLANNING: You have a will, where should you put it?”, Sandra Reed, October 02, 2013