After a person has signed his/her Will, the most often asked question is, “what do I do with my Will”. There are a variety of responses to that question. Among the answers are:
- A safe deposit box which can present another problem at your death;
- A secured strong box in your home;
- The Trust Department of the bank if you have named the bank as executor of your estate.
If you place your Will in your safe deposit box, make certain that you have authorized your spouse, at least one of your children or a trusted friend to have access to the safe deposit box subsequent to your death. If you are the only person with access to your safe deposit box, subsequent to your death, the bank most likely will not permit any person to enter the safe deposit box without a Court Order which instructs the bank to release the contents of the safe deposit box.
Now that you have identified where your original Will is going to be stored for safekeeping, make a note on the copy of your original Will where it is located. If you original Will is in your safe deposit box or on deposit with the Trust Department, make a note on the copy of your Will which you have retained at home or in your office.
Assuming you have a desk in your home office, centralize your important documents. In effect, don’t spread them out over a variety of locations. If you spread things out in a variety of locations which are not in proximity to each other, you have a tendency to lose track of where you have stored (hidden) your important documents from yourself and others.
Among the important documents that you can centralize are:
- Financial Power of Attorney;
- Medical Power of Attorney;
- Living Will;
- Disposition of the Body;
- Life Insurance Policies;
- Long Term Care Policies;
- Birth Certificate;
- Marriage Certificate;
- List of Passwords;
- Abstract of Title.
The important thing is to not hide things. It is okay to disclose the location of your important documents to someone you trust.
By Ned P. Miller