At the conclusion of executing each client’s Last Will and Testament, the question of where to store it for safekeeping is almost always asked. Generally, there are two main options for storing original estate planning documents.
The first option is to keep them with other important documentation in your home. This makes locating the will easier on family members after you pass away. One concern is that the documentation could be destroyed by flood or fire. Many clients have purchased a fire-proof safe for this reason. Keep in mind that you will need to have instructions for family members to enter the safe should the need arise.
The second option people choose for storing original estate planning documents is to use a safety deposit box at a bank. Depending on the protocols of each banking institution, it may be difficult for family members to gain access in the event of your death. Some institutions allow co-ownership or release upon death instructions. Check with the institution and makes sure you provide adequate access.
According to Maryland law, the safe-deposit company may permit access to the safe-deposit box by any individual authorized by the box renter, in accordance with a rental agreement, written power of attorney, or other written authority signed by the renter and filed with the safe-deposit company.
However, the family member, or interested person authorized to access the safety deposit box can only open the safety deposit box for the purpose of checking for a will. In this situation the only items that may be removed are a will, a codicil, or any burial documents.
Contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area for assistance with your estate planning needs.