Where do you keep your important documents and valuables? Are they currently stored in your safe deposit box at your local bank? For many years, most people believed that renting a safe deposit was much safer than keeping everything at home.

In fact, now that you have created your estate plan with your Wisconsin estate planning attorney, you may be thinking about keeping your original documents at your bank. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are pros and cons to this plan. Let us share some tips on this topic so you can make an informed decision and, as always, do not hesitate to ask your estate planning attorney any questions.

Some estate planning lawyers may urge their clients not to keep the original copies of their estate planning documents in a safe deposit box. Here are some tips as to why they do not encourage storing documents at your bank. 1.The bank is only open on certain days and at specific times. 2.Access to safe deposit boxes is limited to the owner or owners of the boxes. 3.If you are the sole owner of a safe deposit box, your family and/or the personal representative(s) of your estate may need a court order to get your documents.

When addressing the issue of being the sole owner of the box, as stated in #3 above, you could add an additional owner or owners to your safe deposit box, but you may not want to or you may forget to use them. We recommend you speak with your Wisconsin attorney in regard to this matter. He may have you designate access to your safe deposit box in your durable power of attorney. Unfortunately, though, banks do not always honor these documents when the time comes. Further, they cease to work upon your passing.

Here are some tips about other locations you might consider keeping your original documents and valuables. 1.In a fireproof and waterproof lockbox at home. 2.In a home safe. 3.In a secure container on an upper shelf of a closet or cabinet.

As you make the decision on where to safely and securely keep your original documents, remember to make copies. You can safely take your copies with you to the doctor or when meeting with other professionals knowing that your originals are safely stored away. The original documents of your estate plan will ensure that there will be protection of both your needs, the needs of your family and your legacy if there are challenges in the future. It is important to discuss this early with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney.

As always, we are here to answer any of your questions and help address your concerns. You are welcome to ask us about storing your original estate planning documents, or about any estate planning matters, at any time. We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.