Safekeeping the Documents
Safekeeping, Registering and Distributing Documents
Where do I keep the original document(s)?
Be sure to keep the original of your legal document(s) safe and accessible. The document is proof of authority — never give it away or lose it. You need the original to make copies and in some cases you may need to present the original to a third party.
Do NOT make changes on the original. Nidus has more information about this in the section called Changes to the Documents.
There are different ideas about where to keep your original document. Traditionally, people kept legal papers in a safety deposit box. However, this is not very accessible for others to access or in the case of a medical emergency.
In the past, people often left their original with their legal professional. The Law Society of BC discourages this practice as it causes problems when a lawyer retires, becomes incapable or dies.
Many people keep their original document(s) at home or in some cases with the person who is named in it, such as their representative.
We strongly urge you to register with the Personal Planning Registry. Every day we get emails from people who cannot find the necessary information or copy of the documents—especially if it was made years ago.
When you register information about your document(s) in the Personal Planning Registry (see details under the Registry tab), you can give details on where the original is kept in case you or others forget – for example ‘third drawer of the china cabinet.’ You can also update this information in the Registry if you change locations.
Who should get copies of my documents?
Give a photocopy of your completed documents to each person named in them. Check what life areas your legal document covers and this will tell you who else should get a copy.
Registering your document helps you with this communication but you should give a photocopy of the relevant document(s) to known third parties such as your family physician and financial advisor.
There are more details on distributing copies for those who are Using the Documents.
It is a good idea to ask your financial institution to put a copy of your legal document on file. This is only relevant for a legal document that includes financial authority. Take the original in to the bank or credit union and meet with a Financial Services Manager. They can make a true copy for their files and return the original to you. They will need to review the document to make sure it meets the requirements of the law and this may involve sending it to their legal department.
The Personal Planning Registry enables you to grant viewing access to authorized third parties. When you register a personal planning document you can permit viewing access to Health and Personal Care Institutions (such as hospitals) and/or Financial and Legal Institutions (including government agencies). This is to help with communication in emergencies and with agencies who may not know you have made plans.
You can also share your registered document(s) with specific individuals such as your representative and alternate, your physician or a financial advisor. You do this using their email address. You should only share viewing access with individuals you trust to keep your information private. You can cancel access at any time.
Anyone who has viewing access will see your most up-to-date information. Read more at the Registry tab.