Your estate planning documents, like any important paperwork, should be kept in a safe place where they cannot be destroyed or stolen. Some people naturally consider keeping their important paperwork housed in a safety deposit box at a local bank. However, for a number of reasons, storing estate documents in your Indiana bank may not be the best course of action.
U.S. News and World Report explains that you may need your documents at a moment’s notice. The problem is that banks are not open twenty-four hours a day, so you run the risk of the bank being closed at a crucial moment. Depending on when the bank is closed, you may need to wait for the next day or even the beginning of the work week in order to gain access to your documents.
Your heirs may also have problems if you store the original copy of your will at your bank. After you pass away, your executor may be the only one authorized to gain access to your will. However, a probate court needs the original copy of the will to appoint a person to be your executor. This puts your potential executor into a quandary and may delay the ability of your executor to take command of your estate.
This kind of scenario can be avoided if state law requires the bank to file the will with a probate court. However, matters may be made simpler if an original copy of the will is stored at home inside a fireproof safe. Some individuals choose to keep their estate documents in the office of an attorney for added security or to keep the paperwork away from family members who might not be fully trustworthy.
Kiplinger points out that people can have similar problems if they store their power of attorney, living will or health care proxy documents inside a bank. If your assigned proxies cannot access these documents in time, your estate wishes might be derailed and your proxy powers could end up in the hands of people you do not trust. Making sure your heirs or proxies have easier access to important documents could do a lot to prevent significant problems.