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Do you know where your will is?

If you know where your will is--great! Surprisingly, it is not unheard of for wills to get lost or forgotten about, especially as time passes. For example, say that you decided to keep your will in your home office's desk. A few years later, you are reorganizing the contents of your desk, and the will gets placed accidentally with papers that you intend to throw out. Or, suppose you chose to keep your will in the attic. Maybe one day, your daughter came over to get clothes that she kept in the attic and, by mistake, took your will. It also happens that people move and leave wills behind in their old homes.

So, all this leads to the very good question: "Where should you keep your will?" Here is a look at your options.

With your lawyer

Remember that your will needs to be easily accessible after your death. If you hide it so well that no one can find it, why have a will in the first place? Similarly, if you keep it in a locked box to which no one knows the combination, the process of getting it out can be quite complicated. In fact, your family may need to get a court order to open the box.

Of course, a big factor governing your secrecy is that you may not want your family and friends to know what is in the will. The ideal solution in many cases is to simply keep the will in the care of the attorney who helped you prepare it. Barring that, ask your attorney who is the best person to keep the will. It could be an executor or successor trustee.

In a secure box

A safe deposit box can still be a good place for your will. To avoid hassles such as a court order, you can add a joint owner who knows how to access the box, or you could put the box in the name of a living trust so that the trustee can access the box after your death. 

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