After the lengthy estate planning process has finally been completed, clients are often ready to move on to greener pastures; however, this can prove to be a costly mistake. One of the most important post-formalization steps is placing the original estate planning documents in a place where they can be found when they are needed.
Typically, estate planning attorneys will provide a formal trust binder to store all of the original documents. This, however, is not enough. Estate planning clients should be diligent in communicating to their co-trustees (if any) and successor trustees where those executed trust documents are located should they pass away unexpectedly. Some estate planning attorneys even recommend providing a copy of all documents to successor trustees (although, for privacy, this is probably more appropriate if they are the children of the trustors). Regardless, these important documents must be easily accessible.
Some estate planning clients keep the trust binder on an easily accessible shelf in a home office or store the binder in a fireproof safe or in safety deposit box at a local bank. It is important to note, however, that co-trustees (if any) and successor trustees should be able to easily access these locations. Obviously, granting easy access to these private locations may also lead to a heightened risk of privacy invasion unless estate planning clients are careful.
Every individual has a different situation and a different trustor/trustee dynamic so only the client will truly know the best location for their executed trust documents. While protection of original trust documents is vitally important, clients should make sure that they do not forget to update their documents to account for changes since the original formalization of their estate plan.
If you would like your estate plan reviewed or you would like to discuss the preparation of an initial estate plan, contact our experienced attorneys at The Loftin Firm, P.C. today.