Congratulations! You've finally gotten around to writing your will so that your last wishes are now in writing and you don't have to worry about relatives fighting over your assets once you're gone. What do you do with it now?
Your will won't do anyone any good if it isn't easily located shortly after your death. At the same time, you may not be comfortable putting it where just any of your potential heirs or other relatives could satisfy their curiosity with a quick peek. Here are some practical suggestions for an often tricky problem:
1.) A storage unit in your attorney's firm
If you went to a one-attorney firm, that could prove difficult if the attorney closes business or dies before you. However, larger firms carry on long after individual attorneys leave or pass away and many will keep your will for you for a small fee, especially if you've named the law firm the executor of your estate. If you have a large estate or particularly nosey relatives, that's often the best solution.
2.) A safety deposit box
If you have a safety deposit box, it's a great place to put your will, your insurance documents, and any other end-of-life documents you have ready (like powers-of-attorney papers or deeds to burial plots).
The bank will generally issue you two keys for the safety deposit box and you can authorize someone else to open the vault either at-will or by presenting a copy of your death certificate. Just make certain that you don't skip this step—otherwise, your heirs will likely have to go to court in order to gain access to your papers. Plus, there's always the risk that if you don't tell someone the box exists that nobody will think to look.
3.) A fireproof, waterproof house safe
This is a little better than simply putting the items in a sealed envelope in a desk drawer, but it does still have its drawbacks. You need to make certain that you give someone the combination. You need to make certain that it isn't located out in the open where a potential thief could spot it and target you for a robber—you may know there's nothing in there but paperwork, but a thief may imagine a nice, healthy coin collection or gold bars.
4.) A trusted friend
If you've named a trusted friend the executor of your estate or you've given most of your estate to one person, there's some wisdom in simply turning over a sealed envelope with all the relevant documents inside. That way, you know your will is already in the right hands. If you trust the person enough to put them in charge of your final plans, you can hopefully trust them enough not to open the envelope until it's time.
For more information on probate issues that you find difficult to handle or confusing, talk to an attorney like David R Webb Attorney today.Share