Ky. Baptist Foundation: Safeguarding my records

By Richard Carnes

Published: June 26, 2018

During our seminars on estate and legacy planning we are frequently asked the question, "Where should I store my will and other important estate-planning documents?" Great question! If a will cannot be found, an estate may risk being distributed according to the often-inflexible intestacy rules of state government.

Most advisers recommend keeping the original will in an attorney's vault or in a bank vault if the bank is acting as executor. Keeping your will in a safe-deposit box is secure but beware that this location can create delays, since many states restrict access to such boxes without court approval.

In addition to your will, your personal and financial records, legal documents, and tax returns are all essential to an efficient settlement of your estate. As such, they should be safely stored but readily accessible when needed. The following list shows those documents that will prove helpful, suggests where they should be stored, and explains why they are important.

Original Will/Trust, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directives

• Location: attorney's vault or bank vault; retain copies at home

• Value: irreplaceable documents, essential for carrying out your estate plan

Investment Documents (stock certificates, bonds CDs, deeds, and titles)

• Location: safe-deposit box

• Value: required for sale, distribution, or collection

Insurance Policies

• Location: safe-deposit box

• Value: required to make claims

Tax Returns

• Location: file at home (keep irreplaceable records and receipts in safe-deposit box)

• Value: helpful to executor when filing final income-tax return and estate -tax return

Asset Inventory

• Location: safe-deposit box

• Value: necessary to locate and collect property

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation helps inform Kentucky Baptist church members on resources to implement intentional legacy planning for themselves, their families, and the ministries important to them. To learn more, contact us to schedule a legacy planning seminar at your church. The seminars are provided at no cost to the church. You may contact us at our toll-free number (866) 489-3533.