It is important to keep your will and other estate planning documents in a safe, secure location where they can be easily found, when needed. A safety deposit box in a bank is not one of those places.

A will is only effective if it can be used after you pass away to administer your estate. If no one knows where your will is or if it has been destroyed, then it cannot be used by the courts.

You could have the most detailed will that has ever been created, but it is worth nothing if it cannot be found.

For this reason, it is important to make sure your will can be found and accessed quickly by those who need it after you pass away. Many people believe that a good storage place is somewhere safe and secure.

That is true.

Many people also believe that the safe and secure place is at a bank in a safety deposit box.

That is not true, as Noozhawk recently explained in “12 Things to Keep in a Safe at a Home, Not at a Bank.”

The biggest drawback to safety deposit boxes is that they are secure because access to them is extremely restricted. The bank is not going to let someone show up and access your box, even if that person has your key and your death certificate.

Access normally requires a court order, which can be time-consuming to get. Courts are often reluctant to give them to anyone other than the executor of the estate. However, without seeing the will, it would not be known who the executor of your estate is supposed to be.

The better option is to keep your original will on file with the estate planning attorney who drafted it for you. Take a copy home and put it in a secure place, such as a safe.

Reference: Noozhawk (April 23, 2017) “12 Things to Keep in a Safe at a Home, Not at a Bank.”