Where Should Your Original Will Be Stored?
Hurricane Sandy may have caused more damage on Staten Island than in any of the five boroughs of New York City. Houses were destroyed and at least 23 people were killed as the storm tore through the coast. As the cleanup and rebuilding continues, residents should start dealing with replacing important documents and records that were lost. One of the most important documents that you have is your will.
Unlike other records that are now stored in digital form, an original last will and testament must be kept in its paper form to be submitted for probate upon the testator's death.
Where is the best place to keep your will?
As Hurricane Sandy showed, there is no perfect place to store your will. You should do your best to find a safe place for your will and to tell your family or other trusted individuals where it is located. Some of the most common places to keep a will are the following:
- The office of the attorney who drafted it. This is not only safe, but if it is accidentally destroyed, it may be easier to get a copy admitted to probate if the original will was in possession of the attorney than if it was kept at home. The reason for this is that, pursuant to New York law, there is a presumption that the will was intentionally destroyed by the decedent if it goes missing when it was in the decedent's possession before death.
- A safe deposit box. This is a safe location, but it may cause problems for your family members if they don't have access to the safe deposit box after your death.
- Fireproof home safe. This is a good choice as long as your executor is aware of it and has access.
Where to keep your will is an important decision that depends on your situation. It is one of the matters that should be discussed with an experienced New York wills attorney.