Creating a Will is perhaps one of the most difficult, yet important decisions that one has to make. You can choose to make your own Will with the help of an online free will creator.
As we all know, a Will is a written document that dictates who receives what of the estate and possessions that an individual will leave behind. This comprises of real estate, personal belongings and bank accounts that a person owns. When the person who made the Will passes away, an appointed executor ensures that terms of the Wills are honoured accordingly.
Once you’ve created a Will, the next question that crops up is the place where it can be stored so that the executor can find the original document whenever required. The appointed executor will require the original copy of the Will in order to take care of your affairs in an efficient manner. Therefore, it only makes sense that the Will is stored in a place that is safe and easily accessible and the executor knows about its exact whereabouts.
If the executor is unable to get hold of the original copy of your last Will and testament, it can be one of the worst nightmares for your beneficiaries in both emotional and financial regards. Mentioned below are the most ideal, safe and secure ways to store the original copy of your Will so that it remains available to your executor after you are gone:
Safe Deposit Box
When it comes to storing a Will, it is the belief of several individuals that no other place is as secure as a safe deposit box. However, different places tend to have different laws that dictate when a safe deposit box can be opened after a person’s death and the various documents required to make that happen. For instance, in some places banks permit access and opening of a safe deposit box for the purpose of locating a Will, but other places require the obtaining of a court order by either the executor or the family member of the deceased in order to open the box.
If you go with a safe deposit box to store your Will, ensure that your beneficiaries and your executors know the exact location of the safe deposit box. Also, don’t miss out on granting the executor the legal authority to take custody of the original Will in the event of your death.
Your legal representative or lawyer is the obvious person of choice when it comes to leaving your Will safe behind. But this should be done only if you are sure of keeping the same lawyer or law firm for the rest of your life. Your legal representative or lawyer is under obligation to keep his/her client’s Will confidential and for this they might charge little or no fee so as to preserve and maintain the original document. Although, the executor and the family members should have the knowledge regarding the lawyer who is in possession of your Will, especially in case there has been no communication between you and your legal representative for a long time.
Even if you make up your mind to not ask your lawyer to maintain the original copy of your Will, they may be asked to keep aside copies of the signed document in case the original document is misplaced or destroyed. A replica of the original Will can at times be admissible in the probate court if the original is lost. However, this may require further documents and testimony.
Will Storage Companies
Storing your Will with a Will Storage Company is more or less the same as keeping it with your legal representative and it is a feasible option that you can definitely go for. Before you avail their services, be sure to check the prices that they quote. If there is any kind of hidden fees involved, it can make these services more costly than what they initially appear, especially at the time of Will retrieval.
Keeping It At Home
What better place than home sweet home to stow away your Will from prying eyes? If you do take up this option then ensure that you store your Will in a safe that is fire and waterproof. Preferably, the safe should be built to fit seamlessly into the structure of your home to prevent thieves taking away the actual safe in case of theft. Some people are known to put away their Will in a filing cabinet or in a plastic bag some place, but for obvious reasons resorting to these methods is not recommended. Irrespective of where you decide to keep your Will, make sure that you let the executors and beneficiaries know where’ve you’ve stored it – after all you wouldn’t want them to not be able to find it when the time comes.
The County Clerk
Depending upon the place of your residence, the county clerk can store the original copy of your Will for a small fee. However, this may come across as a fail-safe solution for storing your last Will as your appointed executors and beneficiaries will not have to consider going to court when looking for the original Will unless explicitly told to do so. The situation might take a turn for the worse if you decide to relocate to another country and you leave your Will behind with the original county. It might be a bit difficult for you to travel all the way to make changes in your Will and even more difficult for your beneficiaries to locate your Will.
The important thing here to remember is that regardless of where you decide to keep the original copy of your Will, ensure that you notify your executors of its exact location. Just in case you forget, make a note to yourself of its whereabouts in case you ever want to change it in future.