Your Estate Planning Documents: Where Do You Put Them?

Since California estate planning documents provide for your wishes in the event you become incapacitated and later distribute the wealth you have accumulated over your life at the time you die, your will, living trust and durable powers of attorney are some of the most important documents you will sign. Where to keep these documents is an important decision.

While a safe deposit box or a home safe is probably the most secure place to keep any documents where you can be assured that they are protected from theft, fire, damage, tampering or loss, I recommend leaving them in a more accessible place.

A power of attorney is used during your incapacity and if the person who has been given power by you cannot get into your safe deposit box or home safe because they either don’t have a bank key or combination to a lock, those documents won’t be too helpful in your time of need.

Don’t be too concerned about your will, living trust or power of attorney being stolen: who wants those documents anyway? They cannot be used if you are alive and well. At the moment you die, just pre-arrange with your executor or trustee of your living trust to be sure he or she knows where your originals are so they can get to them before anyone else. As for the possibility of losing them in a fire, simply get another original set from the lawyer who wrote the documents if they are burned or destroyed.