You, like many other Maryland residents, may have put off estate planning for a considerable amount of time. Nonetheless, you finally took the important steps forward to create a plan so that your loved ones would not remain in the dark about your wishes and so that you could have control over what happens to your estate after your passing.
Of course, in order for your loved ones to know your wishes and for them to be enforced when the time comes, your documents need to remain protected but accessible. You may not know the best way to go about doing this, and some of your first instincts may not be the best.
Option to avoid
One of your first thoughts may be to keep your original estate planning documents in a safe deposit box at a bank or similar institution. While safe deposit boxes can certainly keep assets protected, it may not be the best place for your estate planning documents. The major reason to avoid this storage option is that, after your passing, your loved ones may not be able to access the box. As a result, your documents would remain protected even from those who need to utilize them.
What else could you do?
Though a safe deposit box is not the best option, neither is simply leaving your documents lying around your home. Unfortunately, a number of unexpected occurrences, like house fires, flooding, natural disasters and other events, could easily result in your home and your documents suffering damage. If your original documents are lost, your family may have a difficult time following your wishes.
You may find it best to consider utilizing a fireproof safe. This may seem like an extreme measure, but the information contained in your estate planning documents deserves that kind of protection.
Ask your attorney
If you do not believe that you have the means to invest in a fireproof safe or have other concerns about storing your estate planning documents, you can discuss options with your legal counsel. In many cases, attorneys are able to store important documents for their clients in order to ensure that they remain protected. Even if that specific option is not available, an attorney could give you insight into the various storage options that may best suit your needs.