Do you have a will or a trust?
Has your will or trust been reviewed or updated in the past 3-5 years?
If you answered yes to these questions then you are two steps ahead of 2/3 of the rest of Americans. But the next question is the big one:
Does your family or executor know where your legal documents are stored, and are they able to access them?
Having a will or a trust is essential, but it doesn’t do any good if nobody can find it after you’re gone. Olympic medalist Florence Griffith Joyner (“Flo-Jo”) supposedly had a will when she tragically passed away at the age of 38, but because her husband was never able to locate the original document, a neutral administrator had to be appointed by the court to execute the estate; and whether her estate was executed according to her wishes is anybody’s guess.
A will or a trust often contains sensitive and emotional information, and for that reason many people (understandably) want to keep these documents private; but spending any amount of time or money on your estate planning documents won’t help your family if they can’t locate—or don’t have access to—those documents after your death.
We suggest having an earnest conversation with your family (or one or two select members at the very least) about the existence and location of your personal documents. Although they don’t have to know what is in your will or trust, knowing where those documents are can ensure that the time and money you spent creating them isn’t wasted.