Congratulations – you have completed your estate plan, which likely includes a Will (containing trust provisions if applicable), Health Care Directive, and Power of Attorney. Now – where to keep these documents?
An ideal location is a fireproof safe. If you do not have a safe, keep your will in a safe location along with other personal documents. Some county courthouses allow wills to be deposited and filed for safekeeping for a small fee. A safe deposit box is another option. Wherever you choose to store it, make sure that someone other than your spouse knows the location of your will and has access (combination to the safe, access to safe deposit box, etc.). You might want to give a copy of your will to your personal representative, trustee, or guardians, but it is not necessary to do so.
Health Care Directive
It is a good idea to retain the original, and provide a copy to each agent named in the document. Additionally, you should give a copy to your primary care physician to be kept with your medical records, and bring a copy with you to any medical procedure that you have.
Power of Attorney
I recommend that you store your original power of attorney with your will, making sure that your attorney in fact has access. You may also choose to give an original to your attorney in fact. Since this document is effective immediately and is very powerful, that choice should be made carefully.
Because you may not be able to direct someone to the location of these documents, it is important to let a trusted family member or friend know the location and how to access your documents if necessary.