When it comes to estate planning, one crucial question that often arises is this: Who should keep the original will? It’s a decision that carries significant weight and should be carefully considered. The answer, however, is not set in stone. It depends on several factors, such as the individual’s preferences, circumstances, and the level of trust they have in potential executors. In this article, we will delve into the various considerations involved in deciding who should safeguard the original will. So, let’s explore this topic further and shed light on the importance of making a well-informed choice.

Who Should Hold the Original Will: A Guide to Ensuring Its Safekeeping

Who Should Keep the Original Will?

Having a will is an important part of estate planning to ensure that your assets and belongings are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. But once you have written your will, the question arises: who should keep the original document? In this article, we will explore the different options and considerations for who should be responsible for holding onto the original will.

The Executor of the Will

The first and most common choice for keeping the original will is the designated executor. The executor is the person responsible for carrying out the instructions outlined in the will and ensuring that the deceased’s wishes are fulfilled. Here are some reasons why the executor might be the ideal choice for holding the original will:

  • The executor is already intimately familiar with the contents of the will and the deceased’s intentions.
  • They are legally obligated to follow the instructions in the will and distribute the assets accordingly.
  • Having the original will in their possession allows them to easily access and refer to it when necessary.

Choosing a Reliable Executor

It is essential to choose an executor who is responsible, trustworthy, and capable of fulfilling their duties. Consider the following factors when selecting an executor:

  • Trustworthiness: Ensure that the chosen executor is someone who can be relied upon to act in your best interests and carry out your wishes.
  • Organizational skills: The executor should be detail-oriented and capable of managing complex tasks, such as distributing assets and handling legal matters.
  • Availability: The executor will need to dedicate time and effort to fulfill their duties, so choose someone who has the availability to take on this responsibility.
  • Legal knowledge: While not mandatory, an executor with some understanding of legal processes can navigate potential hurdles more effectively.

Safe Deposit Box or Personal Safe

Another option for storing the original will is in a safe deposit box or personal safe. Here are some reasons why this might be a suitable choice:

  • Security: A safe deposit box or personal safe offers an added layer of protection against potential loss, damage, or tampering.
  • Privacy: Some individuals prefer to keep their will confidential, and storing it in a secure location ensures that only authorized persons have access.
  • Centralized storage: If you have multiple executors or beneficiaries who are geographically dispersed, a safe deposit box or personal safe provides a centralized location for keeping the original will.

Considerations for Safe Deposit Boxes

While safe deposit boxes can be a secure option, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Accessibility: Ensure that the executor and any other necessary parties have authorized access to the safe deposit box.
  • Informing the executor: Make sure that your executor is aware of the location and details of the safe deposit box.
  • Additional documentation: Keep a record of the safe deposit box location, key, and access instructions along with the will.

Attorney or Estate Planning Professional

Some individuals choose to have their attorney or estate planning professional retain the original will. Here’s why this option may be appealing:

  • Expertise: Attorneys and estate planning professionals have in-depth knowledge of wills and estate administration, making them well-suited to safeguarding legal documents.
  • Legal advice: Having the original will in the possession of an attorney allows for easy access to legal guidance when needed.
  • Record keeping: Professionals who specialize in estate planning often have systems in place for maintaining and organizing important documents.

Factors to Consider for Attorneys or Estate Planning Professionals

If you opt to entrust your original will to an attorney or estate planning professional, consider the following aspects:

  • Communication: Ensure that your executor and other key individuals are informed about the location and arrangement made with the attorney or professional.
  • Establishing trust: Verify the credentials and reputation of the attorney or professional to ensure that they are reliable and trustworthy.
  • Accessibility and availability: Confirm that the attorney or professional will be accessible to your executor and beneficiaries when needed.

Important Considerations for All Approaches

Regardless of who keeps the original will, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Inform key individuals: Make sure that your executor, attorney, and any other necessary parties are aware of the location and relevant details regarding the original will.
  • Keep copies: It is advisable to have multiple copies of the will, including electronic versions, in case the original is lost or damaged.
  • Regular updates: As circumstances and wishes may change over time, review and update your will periodically to ensure it accurately reflects your intentions.

In conclusion, deciding who should keep the original will is a crucial aspect of estate planning. Whether it is the designated executor, a safe deposit box or personal safe, or an attorney or estate planning professional, the chosen approach should prioritize security, accessibility, and the fulfillment of your wishes. By carefully considering the factors discussed in this article, you can make an informed decision that provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Make sure your lawyer did not keep your original will or power of attorney

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should keep the original will?

It is important to keep the original will in a safe and accessible place. Here are some common scenarios to consider:

Should I keep my own original will?

While it is possible for you to keep your own original will, it is generally recommended to have someone else hold onto it. This can help avoid potential issues such as loss, damage, or tampering. Choose a trustworthy person, such as a family member, close friend, or attorney, to keep the original will for you.

Can my attorney keep the original will?

Yes, you can choose to have your attorney keep the original will for you. Attorneys are experienced in handling important legal documents and can ensure the will is stored securely. Discuss with your attorney about their policy regarding will storage and any associated fees.

Can a bank hold the original will?

Some banks offer safe deposit boxes specifically designed for storing important documents. You can consider renting a safe deposit box at a bank and keep the original will inside. However, keep in mind that accessing the box may require certain procedures and may not be immediately available upon your passing. It is recommended to inform your executor or family members about the location of the safe deposit box.

Can I use a will storage service?

There are professional will storage services available that specialize in securely storing important documents, including wills. These services often provide added security measures like fireproof storage and electronic backups. Research reputable will storage companies and consider their fees and accessibility options before choosing this option.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the question of who should keep the original will, there are a few important factors to consider. Firstly, it is essential to choose someone who is trustworthy and responsible. This person should be organized and have the ability to keep track of important documents. Secondly, it is advisable to select someone who is easily accessible in case the will needs to be accessed quickly. Finally, the individual should have knowledge of your wishes and intentions, as they may be called upon to interpret or execute the will. Taking all of these factors into account will help ensure that the original will is in safe hands.

Categorized in: