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Home » Firm News » How to care for estate planning documents

It is paramount to create a will and form a thorough estate plan early on in life. One recent survey conducted by found that approximately 40 percent of American adults have a will. One aspect even more shocking is that only 36 percent of parents of children younger than 18 have a will.

Once you create a will, you will already be far ahead compared to most everyone else. However, part of having a reliable estate plan means it is easily accessible. You want to protect these documents, and here are the steps for doing this:

Keep the documents in a safe, secure place

You should avoid keeping a last will and testament in your house. It could become damaged due to a natural disaster, or someone who does not have your best interest at heart could alter it or destroy it. You may want to keep it in a safe deposit box at a local bank. Try to ensure the safe deposit box is at least water & fire resistant.

Review the plan often

Since you will keep your estate plan in a separate building, you may not think to update it regularly. Keep a copy of your will at home to review periodically. Indicate on the copy where the original is stored. For the most part, people only need to update their wills once every three years or so.

However, you will also need to update it when you undergo a major life event. For instance, you might want to alter your will after the birth of a child or grandchild, the marriage of a child or to modify your fiduciary designations.

Any time you revise your will, you should do so in the presence of an experienced estate planning attorney. This will help ensure any changes are enforceable by law. In the event you created an updated will, but the older one is the only one properly executed & notarized, then the older one may be the only valid document in the eyes of the court.