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Safeguarding Your Legacy: Where to Store Your Will for Peace of Mind

The best place to store your Will is in a safe and secure location that is easily accessible to your trusted Executor or legal representative upon your passing. Here are some options for safekeeping your original Will:

Safety Deposit Box: Many people choose to store their original Will in a bank’s safe deposit box. This can be a secure option, but it’s essential to ensure that your Executor or a trusted family member knows about the box’s location and has access to it. Keep in mind that the box may be sealed upon your death, making immediate access difficult. Also, a safety deposit box is not guaranteed to be fire-safe.

With an Attorney or Legal Professional: You can entrust your original Will to an Attorney or legal professional who can keep it in their office or offer secure storage. They are often familiar with the legal requirements and can help ensure proper storage and access. Many legal professionals do have fire retardant safes for Wills and Powers of Attorney. Additionally, in this day and age copies of the Will and pertinent materials are also saved electronically.  The fire retardant safe is the optimal storage place and there is only one original Will.

Fireproof and Waterproof Safe at Home: If you prefer to keep your Will at home, consider storing it in a fireproof and waterproof safe. Be sure to inform your Executor or trusted family members about the safe’s location and provide them with access details. You can also provide your Executor with a copy of the Will and Powers of Attorney.

Courthouse or Probate Court: In some jurisdictions, you may be able to deposit your Will with the local courthouse or Probate court for safekeeping. This can be an option, but it may come with some limitations and restrictions.

Registry of Wills: Some areas have a Registry of Wills where you can officially register your Will. While this doesn’t physically store the Will, it can help ensure its location is known to the appropriate authorities. We have noticed that there are services now available that allow you to store your Will for a one-time fee.  Again, a great idea for safety but it can be difficult if you want to update your Will, something that we recommend happens every three to five years.

Regardless of where you choose to store your Will, it’s crucial to take the following steps:

Inform Your Executor: Ensure that your chosen Executor knows where the original Will is located and how to access it. Provide clear instructions and contact information.

Provide Copies: Make copies of your will and distribute them to the relevant parties, such as beneficiaries and legal representatives. This helps ensure that the contents of the Will are known even if the original is difficult to access.

Keep It Updated: Regularly review and update your will as circumstances change. If you make revisions, ensure the updated version is stored safely and that the old one is destroyed or marked as invalid.

Consider Legal Advice: Consult with an Attorney to understand the specific requirements and options for will storage in your jurisdiction.

Remember that the process of Probating a Will (validating it in court) often requires presenting the original document, along with an Affidavit of Service, so it’s essential to ensure that it is kept safe and accessible to those who will need it.

If you need any help, reach out to Peter and he can provide guidance and support.

Justice Ontario Laws for Wills and Trusts

Want more information?

Are you interested in a consultation with Peter R. Welsh?
Contact me at Peter@SmartWills.ca
By telephone 416-526-3121
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.