Where Should I Store My Estate Planning Documents?

So you’ve gotten your estate planning done. Great! But now what? Where do you keep these documents so that they can be they can be used to carry out your wishes in the event of your incapacity or death? Here are a few suggestions:

Estate planning documents can be stored in your home

A secure but accessible place somewhere in your home is one of the best choices. But be sure to choose a place that is protected from floods and fire, such as a waterproof and fireproof safe.

If you live in a one story house, you should store the safe on a high shelf rather than close to the ground where they are more likely to be damaged by flood waters. If you have a two story house, consider storing them upstairs.

Estate planning documents can be stored in safe deposit boxes

A lot of people choose to keep original estate planning documents is in a safe deposit box. The Texas Probate Code permits a spouse, parent, or adult child of a deceased person to search a safe deposit box for documents left in it for safe keeping without the necessity of a court order.

Additionally, it allows a person named as an executor to search the safe deposit box if the executor produces a copy of a what appears to be the deceased person’s will naming him or her as executor. If a bank refuses to allow the search, a Court can order it to do so.

If you choose to store your estate planning documents in a safe deposit box, it is important that you specify where each safe deposit box is located, who has access to it, and where the key to the box can be found.

A will can be filed with the court

The Texas Probate Code provides a procedure for those wanting to deposit a will with the clerk of the court for safekeeping.

The cost of depositing a will with the clerk of the court is $5. Depositing the will has no legal significance, and it will not be treated any differently for purposes of probate than one not deposited with the court.

Regardless of where you keep your estate planning documents, remember that they are worthless if no one knows where to find them. So make sure you tell your beneficiaries or executor where they are located, and continue to remind them over the years.