You have spent hours working with your estate planning attorney to personalize your estate plan and make sure that your future is on the right path. You’ve crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s and all of your estate planning documents are officially in place… now what?
For a lot of folks, privacy is most important, so they tend to place all of their estate planning documents into their safety deposit box, never to be seen again until after they pass away. Unfortunately this is not a good idea for multiple reasons.
- Availability. It is important that you or your agents can access your documents immediately in a time of emergency. What if the emergency falls on a Sunday, when the bank is closed and you have no access to your safety deposit box?
- Accessibility. What if you have been in an accident, and your Power of Attorney document, which authorizes your agent to help you, is locked up in the safety deposit box, which your agent cannot access without the Power of Attorney in hand? What if you have all of your documents locked in your private home safe, but your agent does not have the passcode to access the safe? Not having immediate access to the documents can create a difficult and stressful time for your agent.
- Authority. It is important that your agents can act when they are required to. We suggest that you give your agent a copy of the estate planning documents for several reasons. Not only will your agent need to provide the forms to financial institutions and doctors to prove they have the authority to act on your behalf, but they also should be familiar with the responsibilities that are outlined in those documents that they have agreed to do for you in your time of need.
- Administration. It is also a good idea to provide a copy of your Living Will and a copy of your Healthcare Power of Attorney to your primary physician, so that the physician does not have to request it from your agent in a time of emergency.
For any other questions on how to properly maintain your estate planning documents after they have been executed, please contact AlerStallings at 614-798-9800.