This month I have an article explaining the benefits of having a Trust. In fact, a comprehensive estate plan is really what provides total protection. But in preparing that article, it reminded me of the importance of safeguarding your original documents. At least once a month someone calls me because they can’t locate an original Will or Trust. The consequences of not being able to produce the original can be devastating!
Under California law, there is a presumption that if the original Will cannot be produced, then it must have been destroyed and therefore the Court will not Probate a copy of the Will. This could change the amount a beneficiary receives and also cause someone to lose public benefits, such as SSI or Medi-Cal.
Some lawyers hold on to original estate plan documents, but I do not. I also get calls from people looking for originals left with an attorney who has long since retired. So the message this Holiday Season is this: Keep yourselves and your families safe and healthy, but keep your original estate documents safe too!