Congratulations! You finally had your will drafted and executed. Now what? There is not one right way to store your will and because only the original executed will is valid, choosing the option that works for you and your family is important. Some people keep their will in a safe deposit box at their bank, but we don’t usually advise this because it can cause administrations delays of your estate. Here are some options we recommend you use to store your will.

Clerk of Court in Your County. This is our most highly recommended storage option and Clerk of Court’s office performs this service for free. To utilize this method, you will need to fill out a Receipt For Will Deposited For Safekeeping, which you can find at your county’s Clerk of Court’s office. You will need to fill out the form and mail it with the executed copy of your will to your Clerk of Court. Once the will is recorded, the receipt will be given to you. We suggest you keep the receipt with your other important documents so it can easily be found. A benefit to using this method is when the administrator files the estate, your will automatically shows up in the Clerk of Court’s system. If you plan on moving from the county you file your will in, make sure to notify your executor so they know where to find your will.

Fireproof Safe.  Another good option is keeping your will in a fireproof and waterproof safe. If you already have a safe, it’s a good idea to keep all of your important documents with your will to make it easier on your administrator.  The downside of this option is that safes are not full proof, and while usually the items inside are kept safe in case of a fire or flood, there isn’t a guarantee that the items will be intact.

Your Attorney’s Office. At Hopler & Wilms, LLP, we offer to store our client’s original wills in our safe, free of charge. This might be a good option if you don’t want to store your will at home and don’t want to file it at the Clerk of Court’s office.

No matter which option you choose, we encourage our client’s to keep their chosen executor informed about where their will is stored and if any changes are made to the will. This greatly helps the executor when administering the estate. Remember, communication is key when it comes to estate planning!  If you need help with estate planning in Wake or Durham County, contact our office for a free consultation.

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