Congratulations! You’ve signed your documents and planned your estate. That wasn’t so bad, was it? You may be wondering, “Now what? What do I do with these things? Where do I keep them and who do I tell?”
Your first instinct might be to store them in a safe deposit box, and this definitely isn’t a bad idea. It’s certainly better than leaving them in the back seat of your car, for example. And the safe deposit box will keep them in a fixed location where they are unlikely to be misplaced or damaged. But there are two drawbacks to this option. First, the Power of Attorney is typically the document that authorizes your agent to access your safe deposit box. If the document authorizing access to your safe deposit box is in the safe deposit box . . . you see the problem here. Second, when some of these documents are needed, they are often needed quickly and at odd hours. Chances are your family knows where you live and can get to your home at 2:00 in the morning. Do they know where you bank? Is your bank open at 2:00 in the morning?
Instead, keep your documents in a safe and accessible location in your home. A fire safe works well. Inform family members where the documents are and how to get to them in case of emergency, including the combination to a safe or location of a key.
Virginia does not require you to record a Will in advance, but you can upload your Advance Medical Directive, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and General Power of Attorney to the Connect Virginia website. If you are an organ donor, you can register with Donate Life Virginia.
In terms of follow up, it’s a good idea to touch base with your attorney in the event of any major life event for you or a family member. If there’s a birth, death, divorce or marriage for anyone mentioned in your drafts, that’s a good time to take a look at your documents, briefly reevaluate and see if anything needs to be changed. Failing that, a review every three to five years is generally a good idea.
You’ve done the hard work of planning so make sure those documents are accessible when needed. Even a perfectly drafted Will is of little value if no one knows where it is. Informing family members of the location of your estate plan and keeping them up to date will keep you and your family protected. Contact Asurest today to get started.
Disclaimer: This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Responses to inquiries, whether by email, telephone, or other means, do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create or imply the existence of an attorney-client relationship.