A will is one of the most essential estate planning tools, as it outlines your wishes for your assets and estate after your passing. However, after you’ve created your estate plan, you can’t just leave it on your bulletin board until it’s needed. Knowing where to store your will is just as important as creating one. If you’re unsure how to begin the process, PA wills, trusts & estates attorneys can help you get started drafting your will and assist in keeping it in a safe location until it’s needed.
Why is it important to store your will somewhere safe?
Your will is one of the most essential documents that you will create during your life. Without a will, your estate will enter intestacy, meaning the state will take over and distribute your assets according to the succession laws. This means your assets can end up going to someone you may not be in contact with as opposed to the intended beneficiaries.
However, creating a will doesn’t automatically mean that your estate will be honored. If something happens to the document, it will be considered invalid. This includes damage, theft, and inaccessibility. Your executor will need to produce the physical copy of the will in order for it to be authenticated and honored. If your executor cannot find, access, or deliver the original document, it is very likely that your estate will be considered intestate.
Where should you keep your will?
In order to keep your will safe from the elements, thieves, and getting mixed in with hundreds of other papers, there are a number of places you can keep this document. One of the safest places to keep a will is a fireproof lockbox in your home. This ensures that the document is in your possession, without the risk of a home fire or flood destroying the paper. However, you should inform a loved one of the location of the lockbox and where the key for the box is stored.
If you don’t feel comfortable keeping the estate plan in your home, you can keep your will in a safe deposit box at the bank. This is one of the safest options for those who do not have a fireproof box, as it provides a secure, offsite location for you to store this document. You can also file a note that lists the whereabouts of your lockbox with the will with your attorney.
However, one of the best places to keep a will is with your attorney. After drafting and signing your will, you can keep it in your attorney’s office. You should keep a photocopy of the plan in your home, however, as this allows you to review the document every few years to ensure that it reflects your wishes,
When you need an attorney to help you begin the will planning process, Friedman Schuman is here to help. Our firm has the experience to help you navigate the complicated estate planning process. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your legal needs.