Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Ensuring Signed Critical Documents Are Accessible

Question:

Now that my documents are signed, how can I ensure that my critical documents are readily accessible?

Answer:

Wills/Trusts:  In my opinion, it is not generally advisable to place your Will or Living Trust in a safe deposit box, as the policy of the bank and the rules of probate will likely require that you present the original documents or order of court to get access.  The Personal Representative appointed in the Will, for example, will need the Will in order to get appointed as Personal Representative and have the authority to open the box.  A few possibilities:  A fireproof lock box to keep documents (give your family the combination or spare key), digital copies of documents to be saved to disk or cloud based storage. It is also important to keep copies of tax returns, deeds to real estate, life insurance policies, investment and bank statements, credit card account statements, etc. in a place that family members can find.  Make sure you keep contact information for trusted, key advisors (e.g., your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor). Advance Medical Directives:  It is often a good idea to give a copy of the health care directive to your agent and your personal physician. Estate PlanningAs always, if you have questions or would like to know more please contact Steven E. Shane at: sshane@offitkurman.com | 301.575.0313. Steve provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.