If you have already drafted a will, then you need to be extremely careful where you decide to store the original copy. At Losavio & DeJean, LLC, The Louisiana Elder Law Firm, we know firsthand that original wills can be lost, destroyed, or stolen, which can create a variety of legal issues following the death of a loved one.
Without the will, it may be difficult if not impossible to implement the intentions of the deceased. Although not legally required, a person can record their original will with the clerk of court in the parish where they live. Although this is more expensive, it is probably the safest place to store a will and is also the easiest to find.
Another option is to keep your will in a safety deposit box. This option will keep this crucial legal document safe from theft and destruction. But, there are rental fees that are charged by banks. Also, it is important to make sure that legatees know about the safety deposit box and have access in the event of the decedent’s death.
You can also allow the preparing attorney to keep the original will. Some attorneys charge storage fees for keeping original wills. Other attorneys do not. The advantage of this option is that there is a smaller possibility of theft or destruction if the will remains in the hands of a seasoned legal professional. The problem with this option is that legatees need to know which attorney has the will. Otherwise, they may not know where to look for it.
Another option is for the decedent to keep the will or allow a legatee that has a vested interest in enforcing the will to keep it. Although less expensive, this option is the least safe. Whoever keeps the original will should use a fireproof safe to avoid theft and destruction.
If you have any questions about wills, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our compassionate and experienced estate planning lawyers in Baton Rouge to get advice. Call (800) 835-5864 today to request a complimentary phone consultation.