Because last will and testament is one of the most important original legal documents possessed by many people. A last will and testament is generally a signed and witnessed document that specifies who gets what when you die. Most people are aware of the importance of having a valid Oklahoma will. However, once prepared, it’s often a document that gets filed away and forgotten or lost
You’ve likely invested financially and emotionally in the preparation of your last will and testament. As difficult as it is to put your final wishes on paper, if you want them honored, it’s imperative that you preserve your last will and testament properly.
Locating Your Will After Death
Because you know where your will is doesn’t mean your family or executor will know where to look for it after you pass. It’s best to store your original will in a way that allows your executor to easily find it. Remember, if account numbers, combination codes, or passwords are necessary to access your will, your executor needs those, too. If the executor is not left with this important information, they’ll likely waste valuable time and money gaining access to your possessions. Some may be lost forever.
Store Your Will at Your Attorneys Office
Many attorneys are happy to keep a clients original will safe at their law offices. This option protects the confidentiality of your will, and attorneys do not generally charge for this service. Often attorneys keep the original will and clients keep a copy at their home. If copies are kept, they should be marked COPY, and the contact information for the attorney that is storing the original should be kept with the copy. Keep the contact information up to date. You can avoid confusion by telling your executor and family members about the attorney holding your will.
Store Your Will at Home or Bank
A common place for storing a will is in a personal home safe or a bank safe deposit box. If you are storing your original will at home, it is important to utilize a waterproof and fireproof safe, designed to prevent theft. Some people think a freezer or filing cabinet are sufficient, but given the importance of your will, you may want to invest in safe that is secure against the elements and prying eyes or thieves.
If you do not trust your will to a home safe, you can rent a bank safe deposit box, which will be both secure and confidential. One issue with bank deposit boxes is that your executor or family may have difficulty accessing the box after you pass. Before settling on this option, check with your bank and attorney about local laws and regulations regarding authority to access to the box, and of course, you will need to let your executor know the box exists. Another suggestion if you are keeping your original will in your home or at your bank is to leave an extra copy with the executor, with instructions on accessing the home or bank safe. However, this may not be desirable for confidentiality reasons, especially if the executor is a beneficiary.
With The County Clerk
Depending on where you reside, your county clerk may offer safe-keeping of wills for a fee. This may not be a good option if you plan to move or need to amend your will. Some people also do not like this option because it is less confidential. With this option, you still need to tell your executor exactly where your will is filed because the clerk will not contact your family after you pass away.
Contact a Wills and Trust Attorney Near You
Your will is an important legal document. If you need help with preparation of a will or will storage and probate contact us at the Tulsa Family Lawyers Group for a free consultation (918) 742-3555.