Anyone who’s spent more than a couple of years in California knows that there is no shortage of interesting and bizarre weather in the Golden State. Earthquakes, wildfires, flooding, and landslides are three types of severe weather phenomena that Californians are uniquely vulnerable to. In addition to those events, there is always the garden-variety severe thunderstorm and high winds that can ravage your area. In light of these potential catastrophic events, it is smart to have a secure, weather-proof plan for your important legal documents, including your estate-planning forms. We offer the following pieces of advice to secure your important documents. 

  1. Give a copy of your estate-planning documents to your loved ones, trustees, and fiduciaries. It is not advisable to have only your original documents and no copies anywhere. If you are looking for a place besides your house or your attorney’s office to store copies of your Will and other estate-planning documents, you should first look to your personal representatives and fiduciaries, like Will executor or trustee. 
  2. Put your documents in a fire safe. There are safes resistant to both fire and water, which is useful when protecting important legal documents. This is one of the best investments you can make. 
  3. Place your documents up high, not down in the basement. Once you have a safe in which to store your estate-planning forms, place the safe in a location that is high up and unlikely to be swept away in case flood waters encroach on your home. 
  4. Don’t rely on your bank’s safe deposit box for safe storage and easy access. Many people turn to their bank’s safe deposit boxes for their legal documents’ primary location, but this is often a mistake. Besides being limited to banking hours, it is difficult for loved ones and family members to be able to access items in your safe deposit box. This is due to the fact that authorizing documents to open the safe deposit box are usually contained inside the box, meaning a court order is needed to open it.
  5. Check on your documents every couple of years. Besides blowing the dust off of the papers every now and then, you need to periodically revisit your estate-planning documents every few years to make sure they are updated and still align with your goals and life situation. 

ConclusionMMZ Law is proud to offer secure places for our clients to safely store their estate-planning documents. We can help you find off-site storage or electronically store your documents in a secure location. First, we have to prepare estate-planning documents that take care of your loved ones, protect your assets, and meet your other goals. Interested? Get in touch with our firm soon to get started on your free consultation.