Writing out your last will and testament is one crucial step in your estate planning. Another is to make sure you keep it in a safe place. Your executor will need your original copy of your will to file with the court. Without it, a judge may proceed as if you had never written a will and could distribute your estate contrary to your wishes.
Policy Genius offers some tips that may help you keep your will safe and accessible when the time comes to file it in court.
Use a file drawer
Keeping your important papers like the original copy of your will in a file drawer is probably good enough for your needs. Still, you may want to consider storing your will in a locked drawer to add security. Additionally, consider discussing the will’s location with a person you have complete trust in and letting the person know where you keep the drawer key.
Use a safe
Think about what might happen to your will in the event of a natural disaster. If your home is at risk for flooding or a fire, you should keep your will somewhere that can resist destructive elements. A fireproof safe might be a good bet. Additionally, you should give a trusted person a safe key or the combination to access the safe in the event of your death or incapacitation.
Give the will to an attorney
Some people decide to give their original will copy to their attorney. This may be a sensible option if you plan to continue working with that attorney on your estate. Still, be sure that your lawyer will stick around town for a while. If the attorney closes his or her practice, you will have to retrieve your copy.
Give the will to an executor
Another option is to hand your original copy to your executor. This may work for you if your executor is a younger family member like an adult child. A younger executor is more likely to outlive you. However, you must keep track of your executor. If he or she moves out of town, you will likely need to get your original copy back and find a new place to keep it.
With the variety of options available to store your estate documents, you should be able to pick a place for your will that is a good fit for your situation.