Protecting Your Estate Planning Documents from Potential Disasters
As part of your preparations for any type of Florida disaster, including floods, fires, hurricanes or tropical storms, it is important to have a plan for your most important documents. This includes all documents related to your estate plan.
In general, your goal with disaster-proofing your estate planning documents should be to have copies of everything kept in at least two places. Where you store them depends on how accessible they need to be, how hard they would be to replace and your personal preferences.
The following are some ideas of potential storage places to protect your documents from disaster situations:
- Safe deposit box: You may rent a safe deposit box at your credit union or bank for an annual fee. These boxes provide you with a great deal of security, both in terms of theft prevention and protection from the elements. Vaults are constructed in a way that even if they were to be affected by the same disaster, they would almost certainly remain standing. The downside to vaults is that they can be an inconvenient option if you need to access their contents regularly or outside business hours.
- A home safe: Any safe you keep in your home should be fireproof, lockable and light enough to carry should you need to do so. If you need regular or immediate access to certain documents or valuables, this is a great option for you. Just make sure that any contents kept in this box are also placed in sealed plastic bags to protect them from potential water damage.
- Attorney’s office: If you have prepared legal documents with the assistance of an attorney, that individual will typically store a set of the original documents in his or her files. You may also ask your attorney to store other important documents or a backup key for your safe or safe deposit box.
- Friends or relatives: Out-of-town friends or relatives who are willing to hold on to some documents for you can be a great option because they will likely not be affected by the same disaster. Keep in mind that you will not have quick access to those documents should you need them, however.
For further tips on preparing for a disaster scenario and protecting your important documents, meet with a knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorney at The Charles Law Offices.