The most important element of estate planning is to actually get it done. A very large number of people never get beyond the first initial thought of estate planning. They may start thinking that they need an estate plan at some point in their lives, but never get beyond that point.
Once you get beyond the point of just thinking about your estate plan and actually take action, you are still not done. No matter how solid your estate plan is, if no one is aware of it, the plan will not do what it is intended to do when the time comes. Though you may believe it to be fairly uncommon, many people do forget to tell their loved ones where to find their important estate planning documents.
When you have your estate plan in order, the first thing you’ll want to do is find a safe place to keep your documents. You could keep a copy of your documents with your attorney, as well as keep your original documents in a home safe, safety deposit box, etc. No matter where you keep your documents, you must ensure that they will be safe, and that someone will have access to them when they are needed.
Decide on one or two people to tell about your estate plan, and then provide those people with the means of accessing your documents. If you keep them in a safe, let someone know that is where they are, and how they can gain entry into the safe at the appropriate time. This is also true of a bank deposit box, though you will want to have that person’s name on the account as well, otherwise they will not be able to get into you safe deposit box without a court order.
All of the effort you have put into your estate plan will only benefit your loved ones if they know that you have a plan, and how to access those documents. Take the time to tell someone about your estate plan and where you are keeping your documents.