Storing Your Will

Although your family members or close acquaintances should have photocopies of your will, only one original version should exist. Deciding where to keep that important original document can be perplexing, so let's evaluate the options so you can resolve it here and now.

  • Options: A home safe, business safe, bank safe deposit box, your lawyer's office, or the clerk of your local probate court who will hold it for safekeeping in a sealed envelope.
  • Potential problem with a bank safe deposit box. Before you decide to store the will in a bank safe deposit box, consider state and local probate law. Many laws require that a bank safe deposit box be automatically sealed upon your death. This can result in messy complications.
  • Home safe. The best bet often is to purchase a good quality home safe. The safe should be able to withstand temperatures up to 1,700 degrees in case of fire. Place the safe in the basement if you have one, so if there is a fire, it can't fall through the floor. The safe should always be locked. Be certain someone you trust has the key or combination. If you have other valuables in a home safe, consider an alarm system or obtain professional help to make it burglar resistant.
  • Don't keep the location a secret. Most importantly, family members or close friends should know the location of your original will.

If you draft a new will, ask the attorney who prepares it whether you should destroy the old one.