You may have executed an estate plan that includes all the necessary documents to ensure your wishes are met both at the end of your life and upon your passing. However, once these documents are drafted there is an important aspect to consider — what to do with these documents while you are still alive.

This may seem like a simple aspect of estate planning, but it still takes careful thought. The first thing to consider is where you are going to store these documents. It is important that your personal representative can access the documents when the time comes. Some people choose to have their attorney keep these documents. Another option is to store these documents at home in a safe or filing cabinet that is water-proof and fire-proof.

Once you decide where to store these documents, it is important to let your personal representative know where they are, along with any combinations or keys that may be needed to access the documents. It may also be a good idea to give your relatives a copy of these documents in case the originals are lost.

Finally, it is important that if you wish to modify your estate plan, you work with an attorney. Old documents may need to be destroyed, and hand-written modifications on the documents themselves may not be legally enforceable.

As this shows, executing an estate plan isn’t useful if the right people cannot find those documents when the time comes. Proper storage and communication are an essential part of estate planning. Attorneys in Southern Arizona may be a useful resource both while executing an estate plan and deciding where to keep these documents afterwards.