Where Should I Store Estate Planning Documents?

Once a Will, Trust or Power of Attorney is signed and finalized, one naturally asks “Where should I put it?” As I work with individuals and families, this is a frequent question and one that I am always careful to be clear about. The best recommendation is for original documents to be stored in the most secure location possible.  In some cases, this may be a bank safe deposit box, some other secure deposit box, a home safe or another secure location.  Originals are important documents and need to be maintained in a reliable location.  However, maintaining adequate copies is similarly important.  My law firm generally retains backed up electronic copies of all client documents, which we hold without any additional fee.  We also provide electronic copies of all signed documents to our clients for their additional storage.  Informing family members or close friends of the location of originals and copies is also often recommended.  Although it does not need to involve extreme measures, proper retention and storage of documents is crucially important.