You finally made a will. While creating a will provides guidance to what should happen once you pass away, it doesn’t help if no one can find it. In Ohio, Probate Court requires an original copy of the will. In order to ensure that your loved ones have access to the original will, it is important that they know where you keep the document and how to gain access to it.
Some estate planning attorneys may offer to keep your original will for you in their fireproof safe. Bad idea. While this may seems convenient, attorneys eventually retire and often predecease clients. Others move without notifying their clients who have entrusted them with keeping their documents safe. Either way, it’s a nightmare for those left behind.
There is still a secret reason that attorneys keep original wills. It is an attempt to guarantee the future probate administration work. There are only two things in life that are guaranteed and we’re not talking about taxes here. Thus, when someone passes away the loved one has to go to the attorney’s office to get the original will. For the reasons discussed, leaving it in an attorney’s “fire-proof safe” usually isn’t the best decision.
Keeping your original will in your own fire-proof safe or gun safe are both good alternatives that should protect the document while making sure that your loved ones have access to it. Another option is to keep the original will in your safe deposit box at your bank and make sure that the bank has records of the box being payable on death to the executor of your will. This method allows your family or loved ones freedom to choose which attorney to use without an awkward interaction with the original attorney.
Whatever option you utilize, make sure that the document is safe and that your loved ones will be able to have access to it when they need it.
If you have questions about your will or where to store it, give us a call at AlerStallings.