Where Is The Safest Place To Keep My Will?
It is important for everyone to have a last will and testament. But once you have signed your will, where should you keep it? After all, it will hopefully be many years before it becomes necessary for someone to actually locate and file the will for probate. During that time, where is the safest place to keep the original signed will?
What About a Safe Deposit Box?
For many people, their immediate answer to this question is a safe deposit box at the bank. On the surface, this makes sense. The whole point of a safe deposit box is to protect valuable items.
The problem is that after you die, it may be difficult for anyone to get into your safe deposit box to retrieve the will. For one thing, nobody may even know you have a will or safe deposit box. And even if they do, getting access often requires a court order in Florida unless there was a co-owner of the box.
One way to avoid this problem would be to name a co-owner–such as the personal representative named in your will–when you lease the safe deposit box and make sure that they have a key. If you also created a revocable trust as part of your estate plan, it may be possible to register the trust itself as the owner of the box, so your successor trustee could access the contents without delay after your death.
Is Your Home a Safe Location?
Keeping your original will at home is also an option. If you go this route, it is important to have a safe storage space, such as a locked filing cabinet or even a safe. As with a safe deposit box, however, make sure someone knows where to find the will and can access the location. The major drawback to keeping a will at home, of course, is that it may be lost or destroyed in an extraordinary event such as a fire or natural disaster, or worse – a dissatisfied or disgruntled beneficiary destroys it post death.
Giving Your Will to Someone Else for Safekeeping
Another option is to give the original will to someone else, such as your estate planning attorney or the personal representative named in the will itself. Obviously, you need to trust this person. And it is still a good idea to make sure that other family members or heirs know who has the will so there is no confusion after your death. You also need to maintain regular contact with the person you give your will to, particularly in the event you decide to revise or revoke the document.
Indeed, the last thing you want is for multiple wills to be circulating after your death. This may lead to litigation among beneficiaries over which will reflects your actual intentions. If you need further legal advice in this area from an experienced Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation attorney, contact the offices of Mark R. Manceri, P.A., today to schedule a consultation.