Thank you for your help guys! Here's my question:
Upon completion of my estate plan (living trust, pour over will, power of attorneys, etc), what is to be done with them? Just simply store them in a safe place? or file with court? or give to trustee? Any recommendations?
The most important step in completing your estate plan is funding the trust. If assets are not funded into the trust, it can not manage or take control of them. Your estate plan should be kept in a safe fire proof place, like a safe or safe deposit box.
Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.
Family Law Attorney
I absolutely agree with the previous expert that the most important step is to fund the trust. We always assist our clients retitling all of their assets to the trust. Without this step your trust does not fulfill the purposes for which you wrote it. Our office generally keeps an exact and originally signed copy of the trust and powers of attorney. You may want to ask you attorney to do the same. This way he or she can supply a copy if yours is lost or provide copies to financial institutions at your request. Even more important, there can be no question that an heir or beneficiary made any changes to the documents.
You can have only one real will and you need to keep it in a safe place. In Michigan it can be filed with the court. Many people keep it in a safe deposit box at the bank. Just make sure that your Power of Attorney for financial matters permits your agent to have access to the box.
Estate Planning Attorney
The attorney should keep a copy. The client should be given an original and a copy. The original could be stored in a safety deposit box, but if it is, the client needs to consider whether to give one or more persons access to the box so that there will not be problems accessing it at the client's death. On the other hand, there is a risk of the person who is given access to it entering the box and stealing items. even while the client is alive. The copy should be kept in the client's home. The client should tell his successor trustee where the documents are. The client may want to give the successor trustee a duplicate key to the house or the client may want to tell the successor trustee that a key can be found in a certain part of the garage. A copy of the durable power of attorney for health care should be given to the client's doctor, and the agent under the health power should either be given a copy or told where it can be located.
Estate Planning Attorney
I absolutely agree with the other answers. Funding your trust is critical to allowing it to work for you and get all the benefits it can for you and your family. I tell clients to periodically conduct an estate planning fire drill... ask yourself the question? If I died today how would all my assets be transfered? Are they in my trust? If not, is there a pay on death, beneficiary designation, joint ownership or some other legal contract I have entered that will direct them?: If not then you will must be used and there would like be a probate process to do so?
If one of your goals you had in mind when you had this trust created was to avoid probate then this is a critical part of the planning.
I also recommend that clients tell the appointed executor or trustee about the fact that you have named them so they know if something were to happen. You may even want to tell them where you store the origina documetns and the contact information for your attorney so they will be able to conduct their duties quickly.