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Where is the best place to keep documents for estate planning?

Thinking about planning for one's estate can be difficult for some people. They may not want to consider the end of their lives or other unpleasant thoughts such as them becoming incapacitated. However, it is important to have a will and other end-of-life documentation created so that a person can ensure that his or her wishes are carried out. For those here in Florida who have taken the necessary estate planning measures, they might wonder where the best place is to keep their documents safe. Experts have some recommendations.

First, most attorneys will keep original estate plan documents safe in a vault or locked file cabinet belonging to their firm. Some even use offsite storage that is easily accessible. However, some firms have to turn these documents over to their owners for safe keeping, either because the owner requests it or because the firm doesn't have a place to store them. The owner can purchase his or her own fireproof safe or file cabinet to keep the documents safe until they are needed.

Some people try to use their safe deposit box, but storing original estate planning documents there is not a good idea as no one else will be allowed to access it without court approval. The documents themselves would contain that approval, but they cannot be used if they are locked inside. Copies can go into a safe deposit box, but not originals.

A person can also make use of e-records for these important documents, with a copy going to them and their attorney. If the originals are ever lost the copies, both hard and electronic, could be used as long as the executor has made a concerted effort to locate the originals. In all these scenarios, it is important that people realize the documents need to be regularly updated.

Those who are unsure of how to create or modify an estate plan may want to consult an attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney here in Florida can be a valuable resource. He or she can be the difference between a person's choices being honored or not.

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