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Documents in Safe Custody

What is Safe Custody? 

documents in safe custodyOne of the greatest underutilised services of a law firm today is the use of Safe custody services for the secure storage of important documents such as Wills, power of attorney, bank account details, original certificates of title, asset lists, other original documents and password lists.

When I first started practicing law I had a client refer to the collection of her safe custody documents as a ‘cactus file’. ie. A register of all the necessary and important details that are needed when you are ‘cactus’. The logic being that her executor will collect her ‘cactus’ file upon her passing to start managing the estate as best as possible.

That term cactus file resonates with me to this day as I found it a little blasé, matter-of-fact, and yet I couldn’t help but smile as it relieves some tension about the seriousness of the issue.

The Benefits of Safe Custody

There are so many benefits to having your cactus file or other documents held in safe custody:

  • We have a list of who is and who is not authorized to sign out documents.
  • Unlimited access to update documents accordingly.
  • No fees or charges related to storage – the big banks charge upwards of $55 p.a. for a standard envelope.
  • Signatories and witnesses onsite for validating new documents.
  • Legal advice on hand for any immediate questions, queries or concerns.
  • Your documents are stored offsite from your residential property for reasons such as fire, theft, flood and possible tampering. If your documents are stored offsite and that building burns down, you are alive to re-write your documents. It is a much worse outcome if your documents are stored with you and your house burns down with you in it – there is no file – and you can’t re-write it.
  • Keeping your file up to date - we will send yearly prompts to ensure your documents are still valid – with up to date details to account for are kept up to date with asset & estate growth and family events such as births, deaths and marriages.

Do not under any circumstances keep multiple copies of a cactus file in several different locations. This will only create confusion as to which is the ‘most recent’ or up-to-date file.

If you have any queries about putting some of your documents in safe custody, please do not hesitate to call our office. One of our experienced team members will be happy to assist you with organising safe custody for your important documents. 


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