Washington probate: Where to keep estate planning documents

Estate planning is not something that everyone does. It is something most know they should do, but they just never get around to it. Washington residents who do take the time to get it done may not be sure where they should keep their estate planning documents. At the end of the day, if they cannot be found, it can cause serious probate issues down the line. 

So, where should one keep completed estate planning documents? There are a few places that attorneys often recommend. There are also others that legal counsel say are not the best idea. A few recommendations include:

  • With one’s attorney
  • At one’s home
  • With a trusted friend or family member
  • In electronic form on a computer or other storage drive

Those who keep hard copies would be wise to place them in fireproof safes — to be on the safe side. Those who keep electronic copies need to inform someone of any passwords required to access the documents. Those who have their attorneys keep them may want to let their loved ones have the contact information for the attorney’s office. 

There is one place that experts suggest one not keep original estate planning documents, and that is in a safe deposit box. Unless other people have access to this box, it will be necessary for one’s loved ones to go to court to get approval to open it. Getting that approval may prove a difficult feat. 

Washington residents who take the time to get their estate planning done should be commended. This is something that most adults fail to do. However, documents that cannot be found do not do anyone any good when it comes time for an estate to pass through probate. Following the creation of an estate plan, legal counsel can offer guidance on document upkeep and storage.

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