By Darlynn Morgan, Orange County Probate Lawyer

As an Orange County probate lawyer, I know the peace of mind you can experience after your estate plan is done is very profound.

I’ve had many Orange County Probate clients tell me that they get a sense of relief they didn’t even know they needed.  But, my counsel doesn’t stop when I hand them a binder containing their estate planning documents.  I always talk to my clients about putting their estate plan and other key documents in a secure location and letting all of the key players know where to locate them.  Having all of this organized will reduce the stress on survivors at a time when they should be focusing on their own grief and each other.

Would your family know what to do if you became incapacitated or died today?

Here are a few things that they should know:

  • The location of your estate plan and health care documents
  • The people that should be notified
  • What insurance you have and the benefits they can apply for
  • What assets you own and where they are located
  • The name of your attorney and accountant

If you own a business they also need to know what to do to keep it operating and who they should call for help if needed.

Keep the originals of all documents such as titles, estate plan, and health care documents in one place such as a fireproof safe in your home or a safe deposit box at your bank.  If you set up a safe deposit box make sure your successor trustee has authority to access it so he or she will be able to get the documents when they are needed.
You might want to consider giving copies of your signed health care documents to your physician and designated health care agent.

You don’t have to tell your family everything about your assets right now. But it is very important that they at least know where to find this information when they need it. So, organize it and let someone know where to find it. The point is to try and make things as easy as you can for your loved ones which was the reason you did an estate plan, right?