Protecting your Documents

Privacy Book by Jay Lashlee and Private Trust Book

Protect Your Estate Planning Documents

Accidents happen, Murphy’s Law does exist, and things have a tendency to go wrong occasionally; computers crash, fires happen, pipes break and flood your home, and sometimes things just get lost during the passage of time. This can even happen to something as important as your estate planning documents — which is why it’s important to know where and how to store your estate planning documents once you’ve executed them.

Insurance and Benefits

The insurance companies say they are not required to advise beneficiaries of a claim; they say they are only responsible for paying a claim once beneficiaries come forward. Cemeteries do not know when the owners of the plots have passed away. The burial plots owned may never be used, if they are not easily found.

Copies of Documents

Have copies. No matter where you decide to keep your signed originals, photocopies should be made and kept somewhere they can be found easily by your agents should something happen to you. A library bookshelf, or office closet is an unobtrusive but accessible place to store copies.

Original Documents

Keep your original documents someplace safe from theft and natural disasters. Originals can be kept in a fire-safe in your home if you have one, or in a safe deposit box at your bank. If you decide to keep the documents in a safe deposit box, be sure to put the box in the name of the trust rather than your own name. This allows your trustee to access the box (and the documents inside) when you pass away.

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Multiple Document Copies

Make sure your agents and fiduciaries have the documents they will need to do their job should anything happen to you. Your will or trust should stay in your possession, along with your Healthcare Directive and various other documents, but your healthcare agent will need a copy of your HIPAA authorization, and your nominated guardians should have the original document giving them permission to make health care decisions for your minor child if you are unavailable.

Distribute Estate Planning Documents

Every estate plan will vary slightly, so ask your estate planner which documents to keep and which to send to your fiduciaries after you’ve signed. If you can, get your documents in .pdf format on a disk or flash drive. You can also document items with your movie camera. Electronic copies won’t hold up in court; but are another level of protection, and can be used for insurance and assistance.

Here is a quick list Required Documents:
  1. Will
  2. Letter of Final Instruction
  3. Trust Documents
  4. Birth Certificate
  5. Drivers License and other Licenses
  6. Passport
  7. Medicare Cards
  8. Insurance Cards
  9. Life insurance policies, location and beneficiaries
  10. IRAs
  11. 401(k)s
  12. Pension Documents
  13. Annuity Contracts
  14. List of Bank accounts and titling information
  15. USERNAMEs and PASSWORDs for Computers & Software account information
  16. List of Safety deposit boxes, list of contents, where the keys and bank are located
  17. Marriage License(s)
  18. Divorce papers
  19. Personal and family medical history
  20. Durable health care power of attorney
  21. HIPAA authorization
  22. Living will
  23. Do-not-resuscitate order (DNR)
  24. Housing, land and cemetery deeds
  25. Escrow mortgage accounts
  26. Proof of loans made and debts owed
  27. Stock certificates, savings bonds and brokerage accounts
  28. Partnership and corporate operating agreements
  29. Tax details and history of returns information
  30. Vehicle files, titles, repairs, and warranty information
  31. Cellphone account information
  32. Trust and investment account information
  33. Business accounts information
  34. Storage Facilities information
  35. Any debts or other liabilities
  36. Credit card accounts
  37. Club Memberships, subscriptions, automatic payments
  38. Other important documents like deeds and titles, and where they are held
  39. Pension benefit details and contact information
Be sure you make a checkmark by each item as you locate and store copies and originals. Copies should be given to your successor and to another party, such as your protector or estate planner.

Here is a quick list for your Letter of Final Instruction:
  1. Where to find your estate planning documents
  2. Contact information for relevant advisers
  3. Who to contact upon your death
  4. Business information
  5. Wallet and Credit Cards
  6. Where house keys, repairs, locks, and warranty information are kept
  7. Where car keys are kept
  8. Who are caretakes, security services, landscapers, gardeners, pool services
  9. Where padlock keys, and what combination lock numbers are
  10. Your instructions for funeral or memorial services
Be sure you store your Letter of Final Instruction with your estate planning documents and provide a copy to your estate planner.

See more...

  1. Protecting Files, Family Movies, Records, and Digital Assets
  2. Protecting Your Estate From Lawsuits
  3. Protecting Your Wishes and Managing Your Estate Plan
  4. Protecting Diplomas, Licenses, Permits, and Original Documents
  5. Chart Comparing Protection of Trusts/Corporations/LLCs
  6. Business Planning for Professionals
  7. Bankruptcy Protection
  8. Protecting Artwork, Hobbies, Coins, Stamps, Guns, Photos, Music, and Records
  9. Family Business Safety, Success, and Transfer
  10. Maximum Protection with Multiple Trusts
  11. Private Asset Protection Trust
  12. Protectors of the Trust
  13. Get a Private Asset Protection Trust Quote

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