The time and money you spend creating estate planning documents might all be in vain if your loved ones cannot find your documents or assets after you pass away. Although you want to be careful when it comes to sharing information about your will and assets to avoid exposing yourself to risks, you also want to ensure they will be able to be located.
Here are a few tips to help make sure your loved ones are not left searching for your estate planning documents when they need them:
1. Keep your will and other estate planning documents in a safe place where it can be found after you pass away. If you tape your will under a desk drawer or hide it in a secret compartment, it’s likely that no one will find it unless you have told them where to look and how to get to it. Make sure your executor knows where your will is located, and consider keeping it in a safe or safe deposit box if you are worried that someone will try to sneak a peek at it in advance.
2. A copy may be used if the original cannot be found, but there are more hurdles involved in getting a copy admitted to probate. It is a good idea to keep copies of the will in case the original is lost, destroyed, or stolen. Let your executor know where these copies are located. You can also save a digital copy and, if you don’t mind your executor seeing the will in advance, you can email a digital copy to this person as well. If neither the original or copies can be located, you can try contacting the attorney who prepared it to see if they happen to have a copy available.
3. Destroy old wills and old copies after any new will is made. The creation of a new will revokes all prior wills, but an old will could be admitted to probate if the new one cannot be located.
In next week’s post, I’ll share tips about how to make sure your assets can also be found by your loved ones when the time comes.
For help with your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.