Where You Should Keep Your Estate Planning Documents

A recent business story in the LA Times online posed an interesting question:  Where should you keep your estate planning documents?  This article will answer this and other basic estate planning questions.  

1. What is the downside of putting your estate planning documents in a safe deposit box at the bank? 

People sometimes think they should keep their original estate planning documents in a safe deposit box.  However, when the bank is notified that you have died they will often seal the box until your executor can prove they have the legal right to access the contents.  If the documentation needed is in the box, then that can create a sticky situation. 

2. What is a better place to store your estate planning documents?

One option is to keep the documents in your own safe, but that is not the best solution.  If you fear someone with bad motives could access your safe, then that is not a great option.  For most people, the best option is to leave the original with your attorney and provide copies to your executor and other trusted people.  You can give them your attorney’s contact information and have peace of mind knowing that the documents are in a safe place. 

3. What estate planning documents should I store with my attorney?


The following is a list of estate planning documents that you will want to have stored safely: 

  • A Living Trust
  • Powers of Attorney for Property and Healthcare
  • HIPAA Authorization
  • A Living Will/Advance Healthcare Directive
  • A Pour-Over Will
  • Deeds to Your Properties
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Guardian Nominations for Minor Children

Where can I find an attorney who can help me with estate planning in California?

An experienced attorney can help you make advantageous estate planning decisions for the benefit of you and your loved ones.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, at 707-451-4502, we have extensive experience in estate planning in California and can help you create the right plan for you.