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Where should I keep the Estate Plan documents?

You want to keep the original documents in any safe place other than your bank’s safety deposit box.  The Robert L. Shepard Professional Law Corporation is happy to maintain your original documents in our fireproof safe free for life, but most clients simply keep their originals in their home with other important papers.  The court requires the original documents during your probate process, or an additional process to authenticate a copy.  This is to help prevent fraud and forgery.  If your original is in your bank’s safe deposit box, they will not allow anyone else to open it without a court order. The court will not issue an order without seeing the original will to name the executor.  There is a special solution for this all too common problem, but it is additional time and expense that can so easily be avoided. Wherever you keep your originals, it is generally advisable that your Executor and Trustees have copies as well.  It is also a good idea to tell those people, as well as your attorney, where the originals are kept.  That way, when the time comes, the right person can find them and put the documents to work.  It is a personal choice to give copies to your beneficiaries.

Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning