You finally had your will prepared and you no longer have that item looming on your “to do” list. Hopefully the attorney who prepared your will gave you specific instructions about what to do with it. If so, you should follow those instructions carefully. If not, I’m going to provide some basic information about how to handle your will.

Preparing your will is a huge step in establishing your estate plan. However, the best will is of no use if your family or friends cannot find it upon your death. The fact is, you don’t need your will when you’re alive. You need your survivors to quickly and efficiently find your will when you die. Therefore, the issue of what you do with your will after it’s prepared is probably more important than having it prepared.

You want your will to be safe and you want your survivors to easily find it upon your death. To keep your will safe, you can store it in a safe deposit box at a bank or in a safe at your home or office. Another option is to have the attorney who prepared your will keep the original will in his or her office. You want your will to be protected from natural disasters such as floods or fire and from accidents such as inadvertently being shredded or thrown out with those old bank statements that have been piling up in your desk drawers.

You need to make sure that your survivors know where your will is and how they can obtain it. Your family or friends need to know not only that you have executed your will, but also where that will is stored and how to get to it. That means having access to your safe deposit box or your home safe or knowing who is holding that original will for you.

These issues may sound simple and they are. However, they are extremely important. If you would like to discuss this topic or any other estate planning issues, please feel free to contact me.