Having a will drafted and executed is a good idea for many different reasons. You have peace of mind knowing your estate is in order and that your assets will go to the people you choose after you pass away. A will also reduces the chance of a will contest or dispute among your loved ones.
However, sometimes will contests happen because a will cannot be located or different versions of wills are found in different locations. This may lead you to ask: where is the best place to store your will?
You have several different options available to you when it comes to storing your will. Overall, you should keep your will in a secure place but where it can still be easily located.
At your home or with your attorney
Perhaps you feel the most secure if your will is kept at your home. This is generally fine, but make sure you keep a copy of the will in a place that is fire and waterproof, preferably a safe. Have a duplicate copy of the key to the safe made and give it to someone you trust. If your safe requires a code, give the code to this person.
If an attorney drafted your will, you could keep a copy with your attorney. Your family should have the name and contact information for the attorney.
In a safe deposit box
Another common option is keeping a copy of the will in a safe deposit box at a bank. Be careful if you choose this option because sometimes a copy of the will may be required for your executor to gain access to the safety deposit box.
This could obviously be a problem if the will is inside the safe deposit box. Your executor might be required to obtain a court order to get the will from the safe deposit box, which leads involves additional time and expense.
If you do choose to put your will in a safe deposit box, include your executor’s name on the list of people authorized to access the box.
Storing the will online
Some people choose to store an electronic version of their will online. This is an almost guaranteed way to make sure it does not get lost or misplaced, particularly if you store it in the cloud versus on your personal computer itself.
The downside to this option is that an electronic will is not always considered valid, meaning an original, signed copy of your will still needs to be produced even if you store your electronic will.
Depositing your will with the court
A good option to consider is using your local Texas probate court to store your will. The county clerk’s office keeps a copy of the will for a small fee. You will then be issued a certificate of deposit for the will.
A will deposited with the clerk of courts must contain the names and last known addresses of you and all named executors. The will can only be released to you or the executors.
Although these are some common options for where to store your will, you might have a different idea in mind. All options have pros and cons, so speaking with a professional can help you learn the best option for your situation.