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Where to keep your estate planning documents

It doesn't matter how much time you spend or how much your estate plan cost you, if your family can't find it when the time comes, it will cost them in the end. The first task for your family after you pass away is to locate your estate plan. For some families this is easy, but for others this is a daunting task. There are numerous places where you can keep your documents, so choosing one depends on its accessibility and how likely it is your family will find it.

Home

If you plan on keeping your documents at home, you need to tell your family where they can find them. Consider putting them in a file drawer in your home office or in an in-home safe where they won't be damaged or lost.

Attorney

You can leave your estate planning documents with your estate planning attorney. Let your family know where to find the documents, but also let your estate planning attorney know who is allowed to access them.

Probate Court

You can place your original will on deposit with your local probate court. This can protect your estate plan from tampering and also provide your family with quick access to your documents. You can only file your will with the probate courts, however, so if you have other important legal documents you will need to find a different place to store them.

If ever you are unsure where to store your documents, consider asking your attorney. Always discuss with your family where you have left them so that in the event they're needed, your family isn't scrambling to locate them.

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