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.