Have you just completed your Florida estate plan? Are you wondering where you should safely keep your original documents, as well as copies? Do you have a safe deposit box at your bank where you store other important documents and valuable items? Do you consider a safe deposit box the best place for storing important documents? Is a safe deposit box in a bank safer than keeping these items at home? These are all excellent questions to discuss with your Florida estate planning attorney.
There are several reasons your estate planning attorney may advise you to not keep your original copies of your estate planning documents in a safe deposit box. One reason is that the bank is open only on certain days and times. Second, access to the box is limited to the owner or owners of the box. Finally, if you are the sole owner of your safe deposit box, when you pass away your family and/or the personal representative of your estate may need a court order to open your box and access your original estate planning documents.
Now, you could add additional owners to your box, but you may not want to or even forget to add them. You could also designate a family member and/or your agent access to your safe deposit box in your durable power of attorney. Unfortunately, though, banks do not always honor these documents when the time comes, and they cease to work upon your passing.
As an alternative to putting your original estate planning documents in a safe deposit box, you may consider keeping them at home in a fireproof and waterproof lock box or home safe or in a secure container in a special place in your home. In addition, be sure you have copies of all your estate planning documents in a place where they are readily available. Remember, you can discuss all of this with your Florida estate planning attorney.
The importance of knowing where your original estate planning documents are located will ensure that your estate can be settled in accordance with your wishes. Be aware that without the original copy of your will or other estate planning documents, there may be challenges in the future to your wishes as you’ve expressed them in written form. Again, it is important to discuss this now with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney.
Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.