Who should have copies of wills and trusts and other legal documents? Where should they be kept? Where should they not be kept? I heard that documents kept in a bank safe deposit box could be locked up over a weekend or holiday and delay important decisions.
When I was in college my rich Uncle died. My parents were certain he left everything to me and my siblings because he was estranged from his own sisters. But his will could not be found. As a result — his estranged sisters got it all and me and my siblings got zero, zip, zilch, nada or as my parents said — bupkas.
Under the law, a lost will does not exist. So let’s go over the best advice for knowing the whereabouts of wills, trusts and other legal documents. Elder law attorney Martha Patterson offers some advice.
She says that “everybody should have copies of everything” so everyone in your family knows everything and there are no surprises and no family fights. Wills and trusts should be kept in a fireproof safe in your home because you may not have access to a bank safety deposit box. Yes, a lot of people believe a bank safety deposit box is the best place to keep certain documents, but that is not always the case. Banks are closed on Sundays and holidays when you might need immediate access to certain documents. Also, keys to safe deposit boxes can be lost, and sometimes the location of the bank safe deposit box can be forgotten or in a distant city.