An Easter Egg Hunt Isn’t All It's Cracked Up To Be
You did it. You finally created a will, and oh, what a relief! You answered life’s biggest questions given your current life circumstances, and you feel at peace. Good job adulting! We applaud you. Now for the bad news: the job is not quite complete. The next decision you’ll need to make is where you are going to store your will, and it’s not as straightforward as one might think.
Your first thought, like so many clients we’ve assisted over the years, might be to store your will in your safe deposit box at the bank. This is what we consider too safe. In fact, your will is untouchable if something happens to you, and no one will be able to access it without court intervention. A court order could take some time to execute, and for that reason, the attorneys at Barbur Law don’t recommend it.
The simplest and perhaps most obvious storage solution is at home, perhaps in a fireproof safe or a filing cabinet that locks. One mega benefit of storing your will at home is ease of access during your lifetime. At Barbur Law, we have lifelong clients who come to us over the years to make changes to their wills as their lives change. Storing your will at home allows for periodic review and updates at your discretion.
Unfortunately, there is no one correct place to store your will, and we’ve heard it all. (Yes, even storing documents in the freezer.) Wherever you choose to store your will, we encourage you to keep the following considerations top of mind:
- Safety: Make sure your will is protected from physical harm.
- Accessibility: It is important that you can access this document during your lifetime to review it and make changes, or in the event of an emergency. When the time comes, your executor will need to be able to locate the original document and should know exactly where it is kept.
- Space: Ideally, you will store your will in a place where you also have room to store your other estate planning documents. (When it comes to estate planning, an easter egg hunt isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.) With all your documents sharing one space, your plans will be carried out as designed, and your family will be left with significantly less financial and emotional work. In this same spot, you should include any checklists, passwords, instructions and important documents concerning your estate plan.
- Communication: Tell someone you trust where to locate your will. If the location requires a combination, key, or password, be sure to share that information, too. If you decide to change the storage location, make sure to update this individual as needed.
In conclusion, you’ve done the hard part. Now it’s time to find a storage solution that works best for you, while keeping in mind a few pointers. At the end of the day, we simply want your best laid plans to be carried out the way you want.