Creating a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family. However, having a will doesn’t do much good if your family is unable to find or access it. A question Houston will attorneys often get is, “Where’s the best place to keep your will?”
There are a few excellent, safe options for storing your will and other important documents, including powers of attorney and medical directives. The most important tip from our Houston will attorneys is to make sure that your heirs and designated agents know where your documents are stored.
Best Option for Will Storage
One of the best options available for will storage is a safety deposit box at your bank. Most are available for a small annual fee. While some may think this is not a good option because of the difficulty of access, that’s not necessarily true.
Under the Texas Probate Code, a bank representative can allow a spouse, parent, or adult child to search the safe deposit box on behalf of the deceased. When discovered, the bank representative is allowed by law to release the will to the Probate Court or to the Executor named in the will. The law also provides the court with the ability to order a search in the event that a bank does not allow it.
Because of the safeguards put in place by the Texas Probate Code, a Houston will attorney recommends it as an excellent option for storing your will.
Other Good Options
If you’d rather not use a safe deposit box, there are some other options Houston will attorneys suggest. Your home safe can be used, but make sure that it is fireproof. One thing to keep in mind when storing your will in a home safe is that this is a prime target for thieves. When buying a home safe, make sure it’s large enough that it couldn’t be easily removed from your home by a home invader.
Filing cabinets are not typically a target for burglars, so this is an option as well. The filing cabinet should also be fireproof, though.
An option that is available to anyone, on any budget, is storing your documents in the freezer. It may sound silly, but stashing your will in a Ziplock bag in the freezer keeps it safe from most fire, flooding, or burglary issues and makes it easily findable if your heirs know where to look.
Most people our Houston will attorneys talk to don’t know that keeping your will with the County Clerk is also an option. For a small fee, they will keep your will filed safely away. It’s not a widely known option, so it’s vital that your heirs know if this is where you choose to keep your will.
Where Not To Keep Your Will
In the past, Houston probate attorneys often offered to store a client’s will. This is not a good idea. Attorneys are just like everyone else — they can move, change professions, or pass away. If you have your will drawn up early in life, you’ll need a place that is likely to be a stable storage facility for decades.
Is Digital Will Storage A Good Idea?
As society continually moves toward digital everything, a new trend is digital storage of important documents such as wills, powers of attorney, health care directives. But is this a good idea for where to keep your will?
These digital archives are accessed through the internet. While you may want to consider storing a digital copy of your will in this way, we do not recommend storing the original document on one of these sites for a few reasons:
- A Texas probate court may not accept a digital copy of a will.
- If the site is bought out, closes down, or is hacked you may lose all of your documents.
Find out more about services offered by Houston will attorneys by calling Keith Morris Attorney at Law at (713) 636-5339 today.