Olympian Florence Griffith-Joyner (famously known as Flo Jo) took the first step and created a will. Unfortunately, she forgot to tell anyone where she put it. After her death, her husband could not find her original will and thus it could not be filed with the probate court in 30 days after her death as required by law. The absence of written instructions led to family disputes between Flo Jo’s mother and husband and eventually the court appointed a third party to administer the estate.
You should tell at least two family members or close friends where your important estate planning documents are located. To be safe, keep the original in your safety deposit box and placing another copy somewhere else in your home. You should also have the following documents in a safe place that your loved ones know about to prevent an estate planning mess like Flo Jo’s:
- Original will or revocable trust.
- DurablePower of Attorney for Health Care.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.
- Authorization to release health care info.
- Deeds for all real estate and burial plots.
- Mortgage, loan, or credit card documentation.
- Last three years of income tax returns.
- Vehicle titles.
- Stock certificates and savings bonds.
- Bank accounts, CDs and brokerage accounts.
- Safe deposit box information.
- Retirement accounts (IRAs, 401K, annuities, etc.).
- Life insurance policies(including employer provided policies).
- Pension information.
- Marriage license(s).
- Divorce judgment(s).
- Any other important papers.