Where is the Best Place to Keep a Last Will and Testament?
Now that your will is finished, you can stop thinking about dying. As happy as you may be to have the task behind you, the refrigerator door is no place to mount your accomplishment. Take care to leave your will (and the other documents you have hopefully prepared as part of your comprehensive estate plan) in a place where it can be easily found if something happens to you.
Here are some suggestions:
- At home in two places. For ease of access, put a copy in your filing cabinet at home and label the file “In Case of Emergency if Something Happens to _____.” It seems like a long label now, but few people think very clearly in emergencies, so the long label will be easy to spot. The second place you should store your estate planning documents at home is in a waterproof, fireproof safe. This copy will be preserved in the event the filing cabinet is destroyed. To be on the extra-safe side, put the safe in the upstairs attic or high closet shelf in case it turns out to be less waterproof than promised by the manufacturer.
- Safe Deposit Box. The key here is to make sure the appropriate people know you have a safe deposit box at X Bank. Texas law permits a spouse, parent, or adult child of a deceased person to search the safe deposit box without a court order for documents left inside.
- Give a copy to your executor. This is a matter of personal discretion, but in the event the original will is in the safe deposit box and the executor is not a spouse, parent, or adult child, the copy can be used to secure a court order if necessary to get into the safe deposit box. Of course, this option means the executor must know which bank you used.
- File it with the Court. Texas law allows a person to file his or her Last Will and Testament with the clerk of court in the county where he or she resides for a nominal fee of $5 to $10.
You've taken steps to protect your family and your assets in the future. Make sure your wishes can be carried out by leaving your documents in a safe place where the people that matter can find them. Then you can get back to the business of living.
An experienced Bryan-College Station, Texas estate planning attorney can provide the information and assistance you need to prepare a comprehensive estate plan today. Call the Peterson Law Group to make an appointment at 979-703-7014 or fill out our online contact form.
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