Almost every client asks me where they should keep their Estate Planning documents. And every time I explain that there is not a perfect answer. Historically, many people left the originals with the attorney who drafted the documents. I am not a proponent of that, and in fact retain only two client’s original documents. Both of those clients requested that I do so.
I think that one of the reasons some Estate Planning attorneys keep the original documents is because it insures that they would get future business from the client's family when the Trust was executed. I recommend that my clients keep their Living Trust; Wills and other Estate Planning documents in an easily accessible place. Moreover, I suggest that they inform their successor trustee/executor where they are kept.
What about safe deposit boxes? In the event that you wish to keep the originals there, the safe deposit box should be titled in the name of the Living Trust so that the successor trustee can have easy access to it. Otherwise, more than one person has said, it is like locking the keys in the safe. Moreover, the successor trustee should be informed as to where the safety deposit box is located. I am currently administering a large estate and my client (the successor trustee) went to more than 10 banks before finding the location where the decedent kept his safe deposit box.
Ultimately, I am a believer in keeping the documents at home in a safe. In any event, the most important take away is to inform the successor trustee/executor where the documents are kept.
Estate Planning and Probate Attorney, Manhattan Beach Local, Sports Enthusiast