Once you’ve finally gotten around to writing your will, what do you do with it?
A will won’t do any good unless someone knows that it exists and where to find it — but at the same time, you may not be comfortable placing it directly in the hands of one of your heirs, just in case the temptation to sneak a peek turns out to be overwhelming.
Here are several different options to consider:
1. Find out if your attorney can keep the will and your other estate planning documents on file. Not all attorneys provide this service, but those that do often charge only a small fee for storage. Then make sure that your heirs each have the attorney’s business card so that they know who to contact when you die.
2. If you have a safety deposit box, you can put your will and other important documents, like life insurance policies, into the box. The only drawback to this solution is that you need to authorize someone else to have access to the box in the event of your death — otherwise, your heirs may have to seek a court order just to get in.
3. Purchase a fireproof, waterproof safe for your house and store your documents there. If you have the money for it, you may want to ask a contractor to build a cubby hole for your safe, so that it isn’t out in the open. Keep in mind, however, that you need to leave someone a key or combination to the safe and tell them where to look.
Whichever option you choose, there’s are a couple of additional steps you need to remember: Review your will periodically (around your birthday is a good way to remember) to see if it still reflects your wishes. If you decide to make any changes, destroy all copies of any previous wills in order to avoid confusion and potential disputes among your heirs.
An experienced attorney can provide with more information about estate planning and what your legal options are.
Source: AARP, “10 Things You Should Know About Writing a Will,” Brett Widness, accessed July 28, 2017