Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know where your crucial legal and estate planning documents are located in case they need to be accessed by yourself or a loved one. However, operating hours for many businesses have been reduced and some financial institutions have had to temporarily shut down due to infections and state orders. This can make retrieving your safety deposit box a huge ordeal, which is the last thing you want if you need to obtain important documents or items inside the box. Here are four items you shouldn’t keep in your safety deposit box.
Item #1: Your Will
Although you might want to store a copy of your will in a safety deposit box, never store the original will in there. If you are the sole owner of the safety deposit box, then the bank will seal the safe deposit box until an executor of your estate can prove they have the authority to access it. This can result in expensive delays for your intended heirs.
Item #2: Letters of Instruction
If you have a letter of instruction to accompany your will that specifies your burial or cremation wishes, make sure you don’t put it in your safety deposit box. Your instructions won’t be helpful if they’re locked away in a box that’s hard to gain access to.
Item #3: Advance Directives
While a living will and a health care proxy are sometimes referred to as advance directives, each serves a unique purpose. A living will lists your exact wishes for end-of-life care, while a health care proxy names a person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to. Both documents need to be readily available and should be kept out of your safety deposit box.
Item #4: Durable Power of Attorney
With a power of attorney, you name a trusted friend, family member, or professional adviser to make financial decisions on your behalf. But if your power of attorney is kept in a safe deposit box, the people you name won’t be able to protect your interests. That is why you should keep the original power of attorney with your will. You can make copies of these legal documents to give to the people who will one day need them to carry out your wishes.
Speak to a Compassionate Legal Professional at Our Firm
If you have more questions about estate administration or probate, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to our seasoned legal team at The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC. Whether you are planning your affairs or serving as a personal administrator or trustee, we can help you navigate the legal process and protect your best interests. When you choose our lawyers to represent you, you can count on us to always be in your corner to provide qualified legal counsel.
To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, call us today at (239) 309-2870.