When thinking about where to store your important legal documents, a lot of people’s first thoughts are, “I’ll put them in my safe deposit box!” Though that is a good place to safely store some items, safe deposit boxes are not usually a good place for your legal documents. Safe deposit boxes are only accessible during banking hours. If an emergency happens outside of those hours, like a holiday or weekend, then the documents will not be available to you or your loved ones when you need them.
When safe deposit boxes are not a good choice, some options for keeping your legal documents protected yet accessible are:
Your attorney may offer to hold your original estate plan documents at a secure location in their office. This is a great option, as the law office will keep careful record of these documents, so they don’t get lost.
Fireproof Box at Home
If the attorney does not offer the service of holding your original documents, or you prefer to hold them yourself, then it is best to place the documents in a fireproof box in your home. Make sure those named in your documents know where your documents are held (home and/or law office), and how to open your fireproof box.
When your original documents are being held by your attorney at their office, it is also a good idea to keep photocopies of your estate planning documents in your fireproof box. Depending on the type of document, a copy can be as good as an original.
Online Document Storage
There are many online services that store copies of legal and other important documents electronically. If you are a member of Generations Law Group’s Estate Planning Client Care Program, then you also have the option of membership to an online service, DocuBank. This service, and others like it, gives you and your treating physicians access to your health care directives anytime, anywhere. You can also store copies of important legal documents, such as your estate planning documents in your electronic Safe in your DocuBank account. You have the option to share documents of your choosing with anyone you wish.
You have taken the time and effort to create estate planning documents to help you and your loved ones in the event of a crisis. Storing your documents and communicating their location to your loved ones is just as important as creating them.
Founded by a nurse attorney and with offices in Acton, Burlington, and Sudbury, Massachusetts, Generations Law Group helps families navigate the complex areas of elder law and estate planning to inform and protect loved ones of every generation.