Don’t keep your will in your safety deposit box

It’s very common for people to keep their will in a safety deposit box at the bank. After all, that’s where they keep other valuable things, like jewelry, the title to their automobile, treasury bonds and deeds to their home.

However, a safety deposit box may not be the best place to keep your will. That’s because shortly after your death, the probate process begins. This is how your assets are identified and secured, your will is authenticated, your debts are paid and your assets are distributed.

The person you appointed as your executor is charged with overseeing this process. But your executor can’t start the process until he or she submits an original copy of your will to the court and is officially appointed as executor. However, the bank may not allow the executor to get into your safety deposit box to get the will without proof that he or she is actually the executor — and that proof appears in the will sitting in the box.

So, where should you keep your will? Your best bet is to keep the original copy with your estate planning attorney while giving other copies to your executor. Another option might be to keep the original at home in a fireproof safe or give it to a close family member you can trust. That way the original is safe but accessible to those who need to gain access and your executor can start the probate process more quickly with less complications.

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9.3Gilbert Vara Jr.
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