Documents created in an estate plan, such as a Will, an Advance Directive, a Durable Power of Attorney, etc., all need to be kept in a safe fireproof place. However, it might also be a good idea to have them easily accessible, according to the Bradenton Herald in “Here’s an easy way to keep your important papers with you at all times.”
One man who looked at all the documents that he and his wife had signed at their estate planning attorney’s office scanned the documents onto a flash drive. Note that there were no Social Security numbers, no bank account numbers or any sensitive information on the documents. The man took the flash drive, put a ring loop on it and attached it to his key ring. However, what happened next proved the wisdom of his idea.
A few weeks later, he and his wife were enjoying their vacation, and his wife needed a visit to the emergency room at the local hospital. While in the admissions office, she was asked if she had a living will and other health care related documents. Her husband had everything with him. They had to locate a computer that was not on the hospital network, due to internal security policies, but they found one and were able to download the documents from the flash drive.
Remember that not all States recognize documents from all other States, and if you lose your keys on a regular basis, this idea may not be for you. However, having these documents on hand was far better than not in the situation presented.
Everyone, regardless of their age, should have their estate planning documents in order. Bad things happen even to young people. Most people leave their estate planning documents in a safe deposit box, a filing cabinet or with their attorney. While that is a secure approach, they do not have easy access to them. The flash drive idea is just one way to have these documents with you while you are away from home.
Other pieces of information to consider adding to your flash drive: recent medical reports, a list of prescriptions, a list of doctors and any pre-paid funeral arrangements.
An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.
Reference: Bradenton Herald (Nov. 12, 2018) “Here’s an easy way to keep your important papers with you at all times”