Will Your Loved Ones Be Able to Locate Your Documents?


Your estate planning efforts may go for naught if your family can’t find your documents. Here are several tips for ensuring that critical documents are readily accessible when needed:

Wills and trusts. Ensure your family has clear instructions on where your original will, living trust and other trust documents are located. If your estate planning attorney retains copies of your documents, provide your family with his or her contact information, so they know who to turn to in case the originals cannot be found.

Financial documents. Make it easy for your family or other representatives to find life insurance policies; tax documents; deeds to real property; bank, brokerage, retirement account and credit card statements; stock certificates; and other important documents. Options include storing documents in a fireproof lockbox and providing your family with the location and a key or the combination, or uploading digital backups of key documents to an online storage system that provides family members or other representatives access if you die or become incapacitated.

Health care documents. Consider providing “duplicate originals” or copies of powers of attorney, living wills or health care directives to the people authorized to make decisions on your behalf.

If you’d like help organizing your documents, please give us a call.