Preserve Your Legacy

Estate Planning | Elder Law | Special Needs Planning

THE PROBLEM WITH STORING YOUR WILL IN A SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX

THE PROBLEM WITH STORING YOUR WILL IN A SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX

In most cases, it is a good idea to store your important estate plan documents in a secure safety deposit box at the bank. This protects your documents from loss or theft. However, if you leave your will in a safety deposit box, you need to make special arrangements with the bank.

Even after you pass away, the bank will not let anyone else into your safety deposit box without a court order of some type. Normally, this means that the executor of your estate presents the bank with letters testamentary and the bank allows the executor access to the safety deposit box. This can present a problem, however, as to become an executor and receive letters testamentary from the court, the original will must be presented to the court first. If the court knows about the safety deposit box and has reason to believe that your will is in it, this problem can be overcome by a court order.

If you do leave your original will in a safety deposit box, you should make arrangements with your bank to allow someone else access to the box in the event of your death. This will eliminate the need for a court order. You might also want to consider storing your will elsewhere. Most estate planning attorneys will store their clients’ wills to prevent this problem completely.