Where Is the Best Place to Keep My Will?
After you have created a will, you can take a break from thinking about dying, but only after you put your will in a safe place and decide who needs a copy. The standard suggestion is to keep your will in a fire box at home. The recent tornadoes, however, show how in rare instances your death involves the complete destruction of your home. Take heed and leave your will and any accompanying documents you have prepared as part of your comprehensive estate plan in a place where they 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 and where it is located. 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 for safekeeping where he or she resides for a nominal fee of $5 to $10.
Before you move on to the next item on your to-do list, make sure you put some thought into where to keep your will so your family can find it when they need it.
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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