Q: I have signed my will, but need to store it somewhere. What should I do?

I need to store my signed will somewhere. I took it to my bank, but they want to charge me a monthly fee for storing it. It’s just a three-page document, and I don’t want to pay monthly fees for the rest of my life. What should I do with it?

A:

There’re no legal requirements around the storing of your will. There are institutions, such as banks, that offer a safe-keeping service. But this is generally for a fee, unless you’ve named them as the executor in your will. The main thing is for you to ensure that your original will is stored in a safe place and is easily accessible by your loved ones. You could consider the following:

  • Install a safe at your home (if you haven’t already). Preferably fire-proof, or at least a sturdy safe. Keep your will in the safe, in an envelope that is clearly marked as being your last will and testament.
  • If you elect to keep your will in a filing cabinet, cupboard or other storage area, make sure that it is an obvious spot and won’t get mixed up with other paperwork as time passes.
  • Tell your loved ones that you have signed a will, and let them know where it can be found.
  • As a back-up measure you could consider scanning a copy of your will and emailing it to someone you trust. And/or you could make certified copies, put them in clearly marked and sealed envelopes, and give them to people you trust for safe-keeping. While copies of wills are not generally valid, they have been known to be accepted on very good cause shown.
  • If you’re not comfortable with any of these options, you can approach your bank / insurance company / investment broker / financial advisor / accountant / attorney and see if any of them are willing to store your original will for you. But bear in mind that they would usually only be willing to store it for free if they’ve been named as your executor (because then they’d earn executor fees on your death. You’d effectively be paying back the storage fees posthumously!)

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