Storing a Will is just as important as having a Will that’s up to date. While there aren’t any legal requirements for how to store a Will - regardless of how your Will has been drafted - it’s still up to you to determine the best place to store it so that your executor has easy access and it doesn’t get damaged or destroyed.
Especially when creating Wills online, the process isn’t finished until your documents are signed and stored in a safe place.
So what exactly are some safe places to store a Will? Well first of all, here’s a few places that are no recommended for storing your Will:
Under your mattress? Let’s not even entertain that idea!
With other papers or books? My dad used to store money in his bookshelf when he was in his 20s, and according to his friends, he often forgot which books had money left in them. Storing your Will in a place where it can be misplaced or mixed up with other papers is also not recommended.
Now here are four places to consider storing your up-to-date Will:
The safest place in your home is preferable in a safe or box that requires a key to unlock. Some even say that storing your Will in the freezer isn’t a terrible idea, since it would be the last place to burn in a fire.
With your lawyer:
Estate lawyers often will keep an additional copy of Wills, and depending on the lawyer, they may offer safe storage in-house. This can sometimes have extra fees associated with it, but access is easy and secure and your executor will have little hassle.
At your bank:
If privacy and security is of utmost importance to you, storing your Will in a deposit box at your bank is another option available. Just be mindful that your executor will need an extra key as well as a power of attorney or death certificate in order to access the box.
With your executor:
Some people also leave the original copy of their Will with their executor to store safely so that they already know it will be in the right place when they pass away. While this puts the onus on the executor to store it correctly, you should also have input on where it’s stored just in case the executor’s idea of a “safe place” differs from your own. Just remember that if your executor does predecease you that you’ll need to both change your executor and remember to retrieve your original document from the place it was being stored.
A quick note on online Wills:
Online Wills are a great alternative to seeing a lawyer if you have simple estate requirements, but just remember that your Will only becomes a valid document after being printed and signed by two witnesses. While your account information will be stored with the provider, this doesn’t mean that your executor will be able to simply access your account and prove you had an up-to-date Will if the printed copy is misplaced or lost.
Overall, handle your Will with care. While having an up-to-date Will is the first step, you owe it to your executor and loved ones to ensure that it can easily be found by the right people at the time of your passing. Although you’ll never personally experience what happens after you die, it gives those who handle the disposition of our estate peace of mind to know that they won’t have any hassle carrying out the process.
Willfora is Canada's first completely FREE service to allow anyone to create or update their Will in a secure and simple online format. As a free alternative to hiring a lawyer, Willfora was created in an effort to prompt Canadians to consider leaving a charitable gift to a cause that’s important to them, while potentially saving thousands of dollars in the process. Willfora also offers unlimited updates and easy instructions on how to sign off and store an up-to-date Will.
It’s your Will, and your Legacy. Start today.