Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, April 14, 2014

Is It Hard to Find Your Documents?


Your estate planning efforts may be wasted if your family can’t find your documents.  Here are some tips to ensure your documents are readily accessible when the time comes:

Wills and trusts.  Have a trusted advisor keep your original will or trust documents and give your family his or her contact information.  Be wary of keeping these documents in a safe deposit box because a court order may be needed to access it.

Financial documents.  Make sure your family and representatives know where to find life insurance policies, deeds, stock certificates, and other important documents.  Include contact information for your key advisors as well.  Options include a safe deposit box, a fireproof lockbox, or an online storage system.  Just make sure your family knows how to obtain access.

Health care documents.  Give copies of powers of attorney, living wills, and health care directives to your agents as well as your physicians.

See E. Hans Lundsten, Joseph Marion, III, David Riedel, and Christina Scola, Estate Planning Pitfalls: Your Documents Are Hard to Find, JDSupra Business Advisor, Apr. 9, 2014. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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