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Where do I keep my Estate Plan?

You’ve made the decision to create an Estate Plan. You’ve made all of those important decisions (including Leaving a Legacy), you’ve got your Estate Plan in your hand. Now what?

A common question we encounter is: “where should I put all of these documents?”

That drawer at home in the file cabinet with all your insurance documents? That shoebox under the bed with your collection of rare coins? Your bank deposit box? How about the lawyer’s office?

Ultimately, that decision is up to you. North Carolina law requires that your Estate Planning documents be kept in the same location as your important documents. The point is for your loved ones to be able to find it when they need to. If you normally keep all of your bank statements, investment paperwork, insurance policies, or other important documents in the safe in your closet and you choose to keep your Estate Plan on top of the refrigerator – that’s not going to work unless you specifically make that known to your family.

Most people choose to keep their Estate Plans in one of three locations: (1) a personal, household safe; (2) a bank deposit box; or (3) if the attorney offers this service, with the attorney that drafted the plan.

Recently there have been online companies offering to store these documents online for you – however, in order to probate a Will in North Carolina, you need the original. If you only have a scanned/digital copy, a hearing has to be held as to why the original cannot be located and to determine whether the copy is legitimate.

What’s a reasonable choice? Pick one of the three listed above.

Author Bio

Paul Yokabitus

Paul Yokabitus is the CEO and Managing Partner of Cary Estate Planning, a Cary, NC, estate planning law firm. With years of experience in estate and elder law, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including estate planning, guardianship, Medicaid planning, estate administration, and other cases.

Paul received his Juris Doctor from the Campbell University School of Law and is a North Carolina Bar Association member. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Best Attorney in Cary” in 2016 and 2017 by Cary News and Rising Star in 2020-2023 by Super Lawyers.

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