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In order for your will and other estate planning documents to be useful, it is important they get into the hands of your executor.

Many people believe that a safe and secure place for their estate plan is in a safety deposit box at a bank.  However, it turns out that isn’t true, according to Noozhawk in “12 Things to Keep in a Safe at a Home, Not at a Bank.”

If no one knows where your will is and can’t locate it, then it cannot be used by the courts.

It is, therefore, important to make sure your will can be found and accessed quickly by those who need it after you pass away. Many people believe that a good storage place is a safety deposit box.

The biggest drawback to safety deposit boxes is that access to them is extremely restricted. The bank is not going to let someone show up and access your box, sometimes even if the person’s name is listed on the contract for the box, just because the person has your key and your death certificate.

Access normally requires a court order, which can be time-consuming to get. Courts are often reluctant to give them to anyone other than the executor of the estate. However, without seeing the will, it would not be known who the executor of your estate is supposed to be.

Clearly you can take a copy home and put it in a secure place. In addition, your estate planning attorney can also keep a copy on file.  However, access to the original will is still vital. An estate planning attorney can help you determine the best way to safeguard your original documents.

Reference: Noozhawk (April 23, 2017) “12 Things to Keep in a Safe at a Home, Not at a Bank.”

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.