Clients often ask where they should store their original will after it is drafted and executed by our office. I always give the clients the choice of having our office keep the original will or giving it to the client for safekeeping. A third option, which is used less frequently, is to store your will (the original) with the Surrogate’s Court of the county where the testator (individual who signed the will) is domiciled (resides). When you decide to store the original will with the Long Island estate planning attorney who drafted the document, rest assured that the will be stored in a fireproof, secure safe located in our office. Should you decide to retain the original will, please be sure to keep it in a fireproof safe in your home. Please be sure that others you trust (i.e., family members, named executor) are aware of the location of the will. It is of utmost importance that those who you name as executor and successor executor are aware of this key information.
One note of caution is that you do not keep your will in a safety deposit box. If you die and your original will is left in your safety deposit box, it will require an order of the Surrogate’s Court in order for the bank to be authorized to release the contents of the box (which will contain your will). To reiterate, you should not place your original last will and testament in a safety deposit box.
Please contact an experience New York wills and estates lawyer to assist you with the preparation and storage of your will.